Evidence-based analysis of physical therapy in Parkinson's disease with recommendations for practice and research


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Abstract

Physical therapy is often prescribed in Parkinson's disease. To facilitate the uniformity and efficacy of this intervention, we analyzed current evidence and developed practice recommendations. We carried out an evidence-based literature review. The results were supplemented with clinical expertise and patient values and translated into practice recommendations, developed according to international standards for guideline development. A systematic literature search yielded 6 systematic reviews and 23 randomized controlled trials of moderate methodological quality with sufficient data. Six specific core areas for physical therapy were identified: transfers, posture, reaching and grasping, balance, gait, and physical capacity. We extracted four specific treatment recommendations that were based on evidence from more than two controlled trials: cueing strategies to improve gait; cognitive movement strategies to improve transfers; exercises to improve balance; and training of joint mobility and muscle power to improve physical capacity. These practice recommendations provide a basis for current physical therapy in Parkinson's disease in everyday clinical practice, as well as for future research in this field. © 2006 Movement Disorder Society

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