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What is Parkinson’s Disease PD?

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterised by:
– Bradykinesia – slow movements
– Rigidity – stiffness
– Rest tremor – shaking of the body

These symptoms are due to a reduction in the number of dopamine-producing cells in the brain and, therefore, the amount of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that helps transport messages within the brain.

Parkinson disease

What causes Parkinson’s Disease?

There is no proven cause for PD, though some believe that the risk of developing PD can be increased after exposure to heavy metals, or if you have a genetic predisposition to developing it.

How is it diagnosed?

PD can be diagnosed by a neurologist via a thorough examination that may include scans of the brain, assessment of movements, and trialling different medications to see how they affect the symptoms.

What can you do about it?

Most people with PD work with a neurologist to find the best medications to alleviate some of the symptoms. One of the best things someone with PD can do is exercise. Due to the symptoms of slow movement and stiffness, people with PD tend not to walk or exercise as much as the general population and are at risk of becoming deconditioned. This reduction in exercise could be due to several factors including depression; fatigue; and difficulty moving.

Parkinson disease

Why is exercise important?

Recent research is now focusing on the important role of exercise in protecting the remaining dopamine-producing cells. One chemical, in particular, called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), has been found to help protect the remaining dopamine-producing cells in the brain. BDNF is released after bouts of intense exercise.

Programs such as PD Warrior, which is offered at The Body Refinery, can help get you moving and can assist you in using exercise to help your brain.  Following a diagnosis of PD, it is important to research specific PD exercise classes in your area.  Find out more about PD Warrior on our website (Services/Physiotherapy/PD Warrior) or on the PD Warrior website.


PD Warrior offered at The Body Refinery:

Physiotherapists at The Body Refinery are trained in the PD Warrior exercise program. To become part of the program you will first attend an initial assessment with one of our Physiotherapists. During this assessment, your goals for exercise will be determined and you will be taught some of the main exercises performed during the PD Warrior circuit. Once you are confident with the exercises you can attend one of our PD Warrior circuits, which are offered during the week. These circuits are a fun way to meet other people with PD and get the neuroprotective chemicals (such as BDNF) flowing, which could help to protect your brain cells. We can help you take steps towards making a positive difference in your future with PD.

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Book your initial appointment with a Physiotherapist today on 07 3358 3915 or at

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