In addition to altered posture and difficulty walking, people with Parkinson's often show an impaired hand movement. This can translate into increasing difficulty when performing tasks such as buttoning shirts, writing or brushing teeth. One of the reasons for such impaired fine motor skills is the increased rigidity which makes coordination of movements more difficult. These symptoms can occur on one or simultaneously on both side of the body and contribute to an overall decrease in range of motion and in manual activities.
Virginie Pechon is a physiotherapist from the multidisciplinary ParkinsonNet Luxembourg team. As such, she offers a specialised treatment for people with Parkinson's. In her video, she shares practical exercises that are easy to reproduce at home to allow everyone to train the motor skills of their hands.
In Parkinson's disease, the mobility of the hands is reduced as it can be the case with other muscles in the body. Therefore, it is important to train the movement of fingers and hands to counteract this stiffness.
“By widely opening and closing the hands, the muscles are activated, and the flexibility of the fingers increases. By turning and manipulating different small objects in the hand, you train and improve coordination, fine motor skills. " explains Virginie. This helps to estimate the force necessary for a good grip which will thus make actions become smoother and safer.
“It's best to perform the exercises in a seated position facing a table and to concentrate on one task at a time,” she continues. “Do the exercises slowly and consciously to better focus on the movement. Work out in short sessions of a few minutes several times throughout the day and don't worry if not all the exercises don't work right away. The coordination of your fingers will improve over time if you exercise regularly."
These exercises shown in the video are examples of strategies specifically developed for people with Parkinson's and applied by the members of ParkinsonNet Luxembourg. By combining and coordinating different disciplines, this interdisciplinary network of therapists aims to provide an integrated therapeutic approach for each patient.