Rub it Better - Physiotherapy Specific To Parkinson's Disease

I write from first hand experience and my understanding according to my personal situation, following an almost sleepless night; Due to the onslaught of extensive muscle cramping and clamp down within the Back, with additional spasms, involuntary pulsations and painful discomfort extending into the limbs (now including my left-hand side) which in-turn has affected my posture, gait and general mobility.

Since trying to find a new Masseur Kinésithérapeute (following the retirement of the therapeutic experienced and expert hands that have looked after me over the last nine years) has initially turned out to be a very painful ordeal; and being the second time round that I have had 'bad experience at new hands' it really makes me wonder upon the levels in shared knowledge and understanding within this field in relation to Parkinson's Disease.

There has to be a simple reason as to why some Clinics have failed to work wonders, while others have not only alleviated my specific problems but also extended muscular vitality and general mobility; even to the point where a recommendation towards surgery and the need to wear a Back support on a daily basis has in the past been overcome.

In short, being set a series of exercises without any initial hands on examination and assessment into the physical condition of the individual back muscles, has not only exasperated but extended the problems associated with the muscle tissues prone to and already under unprecedented tension with the inherent cramping that is noticeably specific to my condition in Parkinson's Disease, and the physical permanent injury to the spine; that in combination, act upon the Sciatic nerves, subsequent posture, causing pains in the lower-back, across the upper pelvis and into the right hip, etc.

By way in analogy; A football player, having to take all the penalty shots with an injured ankle will suffer progressing agony; no doubt extending the size of his injury (while increasing the time necessary to attain any measure in healing comfort) the more shots he takes in that effort to win the grand final game; The affected areas increase as the measure of discomfort grows.

With Parkinson's Disease the fact of the matter is that some of the muscles are and or will become physically damaged; There is Injury! Injury that needs and requires full attention in therapeutic treatment first, before any kick-off!

Each and every muscle requires a good measure in equability and sufficient muscle tone to enable a smooth comfortable and balanced functioning that combine in providing good health and mobility.

The old saying “Rub it better” rings very true; For gentle massage appears to be the only thing that really revitalises and improves the circulation within the muscle tissues towards achieving optimum muscle tone prior to any useful exercise.

In my experience the action of massage is like a gentle warm up session; while applied heat treatments and or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) most certainly do not dislodge or shift any unwanted matter that has built up as a result of the contraction and tensions. In fact, to my knowledge, there are no short cuts that work.

With Parkinson's Disease, it is very much a hands on aspect before you start any stretching and or exercise; And if you cannot massage an area yourself to attain a good or balanced muscle tone then be kind to yourself and insist that the individual points of imbalance are addressed first, before you take the dog for its walk or stand at the sink to wash the dishes

I am just so upset; Having gone from being supple enough to climb ladders and carry out easy tasks, to shuffling around like a duck with painful immobility in a matter of a few hours!!

I am that upset (with the pain I am now in) to say; I am of the opinion that some physiotherapists I have seen need to retrain!

i would suggest a osteopath is better for people with parkinsons not so rough

Hi Gus,

I would beg to differ from my experience of both therapies.

Massage stimulates the muscle tissue and circulation to assist in getting rid of the waste products. This then frees up the muscle for more activity and once running the sweat glands will kick in.

The point of this post is that exercise slows down progression and for some reduces the levels in medication, but you cannot benefit if the muscle is clogged and frozen up with unwanted matter to the point of inactivity! 

A good massage always makes me feel better, although I do see a Chiropractor every 3 months as well. She always massages the muscles before attempting any other manoeuvres. She also sticks needles in my back!

But I agree, exercise is the best treatment for most problems, as long as the muscles are warmed and prepared first.....damaged or not.

I too, used to suffer from dreadful cramps and spasms, in different parts of my body.....even my thumbs would cramp up sometimes. The spasms were the worst and would come in waves of 4 at a time, in the same place, (usually round my rib area). I literally used to moan out loud, when it happened and double up with pain. The doctor gave me quinine tablets, but that caused my tinnitus to get much worse! Have not needed the quinine since I began having a large teaspoonful of Chia seeds a day. Excellent for constipation too! Worth a try.

Totally understand your frustration, Beauxreflets.

hi beauxreflets

                                 They do say that one thing is good but maybe not for the other i used to have alot of pain around my neck & shoulder ,& my osteopath would work on my lower back relaxing ,getting the tightness ,knots out before doing any work on my neck first , and a big YES to exercise for keeping on top of parkinsons ,i go every day for sauna ,steam and swim sorry if i got the wrong end of stick ! confused  

Its good to hear that you also benefit from massage Twinks.

For me it is the First and most important aspect in dealing with and coping with PD on a daily basis; to the point where I believe it should be outlined on advice sheets and promoted above anything else.

A shaking limb usually responds very quickly to relax and then regain steadiness when the affected areas in muscle are gently massaged.

Plus two sessions a week (for the areas in my back that I cannot reach myself) with a Masseur Kinésithérapeute has enabled some normality and ease to daily life.  


Gus, its good to know your therapist relaxes the muscles first before working on specific areas smile


There are Physiotherapist's whom are trained to deal with neurological conditions such as PD MS MD MND.

I would be very wary about going to a Physiotherapist who was not neurological qualified but that is only because I was told by my GP ( shes a fantastic dr ) so I know what to expect.

Through my support group branch I recently have had a 6 week course of massage which the branch pays for hence the 6 session limit, it was so good and I was so responsive to being massaged I actually dozed off a couple of times, again the therapist was neurological trained I would recommend this treatment to any one who's condition is causing them pain.

Just check with them before commencing treatment that they are Neurological Physiotherapist's.


Thanks Betty,

Interestingly enough, that was our very first question before making the appointment and we were assured that the therapist knew all about PD and its specific neurological aspects; I also outlined in depth the disfigurement in my lower back and the sciatica while indicating the muscles that were currently hard as iron and causing discomfort!

Hopefully I will find a capable Physiotherapist very soon.

Indeed, as this is so important I am going to repeat myself:

Massage stimulates the muscle tissue and circulation to assist in getting rid of the waste products. This then frees up the muscle for more activity and once running the sweat glands will kick in. (Unfortunately there are no shortcuts as I mentioned before).

The point is that exercise slows down the progression of PD and for some reduces the levels in medication required, but you cannot benefit if the muscles are clogged and frozen up with unwanted matter to the point of inactivity! Pushing tensioned muscle further just increases the damage of tissues.

I have been forced to take muscle relaxant to enable sleep!

This morning I put on a back support which instantly allows me to walk in strides rather than doing the penguin shuffle!

My overall posture has been changed by the bad practice incident encountered and I have not been able to pooh now for three days which is very uncomfortable and adding to the problems

As to the various massage treatments, the 'laying on of hands with gentle manipulation' is the most effective - Heat bags and TENS on their own fail every time.

Hopefully I will find a capable practitioner soon.

I sincerely hope that all Physiotherapists read this post, as they have the power to do so much in combating this awful disease and helping us all out of this living hell!

your welcome my lovely xx

For those who may doubt that Massage has a very important role to play in alleviating PD consider the aspect raised in this link;

Help rid, speed up the movement of toxins from vour body (toxins peculiar to your situation) and you are half way there big grin

Dear Beauxreflets


A question... how many massages do you have per week (Kinitherapeut)  ?

Peope may be interested in a Leg massage machine I hvae bought (Made in CHina and sold

from a Californian firm)... it looks like a giant toaster and is about 20"high 24" wide and 20" long ... u
put both feet in and it vibrates thus massging your lower leg .  250 pounds is the price and it can be quite helpful when u have numb toes and leg pain (as I get )... worth the money I think!

Andy (aka Ojalahey)

Hi Andy,

I generally have two x 25 minute sessions a week, 20 minute massage to relax the back and limb muscles and assist in improving Lymphatic circuit flow, followed by 5 minutes stretching, bending and rotation exercises etc;

Ensuring no heat treatments are applied - as this tends to exasperate problems.

Hope this helps




Very pleased to I have found two new cool Masseur Kinésithérapeutes who understand PD and things have started to improve smile