What are all those tests and measurements that Physical Therapists do, and why are they important?
Objective testing is a tool that physical therapists use to measure how a person’s movements are affected by Parkinson’s disease. We know that PD can cause balance, gait, posture, and strength issues. We also know that not everyone is affected in the same way. The testing done by a specialized PT will help you know where you have deficits and how to set a plan of action specific to you!
It is essential to test right after diagnosis to get a baseline measurement and determine the best course of action. It is equally important to follow up with a reassessment every six months to determine the program's effectiveness. The reassessment will identify to the patient and physical therapist which symptoms have improved and which symptoms may have progressed. That information allows us to update and modify the plan of action! Those modifications could be switching up your exercise program, seeing a physical therapist for individual intervention, or talking with your neurologist about medication adjustments.
Here is an explanation of some of the tests we like to use and why they are important:
Five-time Sit to Stand:
This test is a quick assessment of your legs and core strength. Leg strength is critical to performing tasks like getting out of a chair, climbing stairs, or walking around your neighborhood. This test also allows us to see if there are issues with shifting your weight forward that make simple tasks more difficult.
Timed up and go (TUG):
This test is an assessment of dynamic balance. We can see how stable your body moves in a straight line and negotiates a turn.
Freezing of gait symptoms often presents themselves on this test too. In addition, we like to add a cognitive challenge to this test (counting backward/naming animals, etc.) to see how making your brain concentrate on something else affects your balance. Making your brain busy often decreases movement coordination in people with Parkinson’s!
We will also test how your body moves in some less common but important movements. How easily can you turn in a circle or walk backward? How much help do you need to get up off the floor? Maintaining independence and confidence with these movements is one of the best indicators of remaining out of assisted living and independent in the community!
We also will assess your endurance or activity tolerance. When people are tired, their bodies are less likely to cooperate, leading to falls and injury. We can assess endurance with a six-minute walk test or a two-minute step-up test.
It is important to remember that finding a deficit on the test is not to be feared! The physical therapists at Wellness 360 have special training in working with clients with Parkinson’s. That means we have lots of tricks up our sleeves to help progress you forward and fix what we find!
This month we would like to make it a goal to reassess everyone who has not had an assessment in the last six months. We will have a sign-up sheet for anyone interested in participating at the Rochester and Webster gyms and Wellness 360. There is NO cost for these reassessments! This is a service that Wellness 360 provides our participants to support your disease management! We encourage everyone to participate!
For questions, do not hesitate to reach out! Give us a call at 585-259-0782 or reach out to Lindsay@wellness360fitness.com