This is a progressive neurological disorder mainly affecting the basal ganglia, the brain centres responsible for movement.

What is it?
Normally nerve cells in the part of the brain called the basal ganglia produce dopamine, a chemical messenger used to transmit nerve impulses from the brain to various parts if the body. In Parkinson’s disease degeneration of these nerve cells means not enough dopamine is made and messages transmitted from the brain to the muscles become less efficient.

Hand tremor is often the earliest sign. Other symptoms include slowness of movement, muscle rigidity, poor coordination and clumsiness. As the disease progresses movement and everyday tasks such as dressing and writing become more difficult. Speech may also be affected. A person with Parkinson’s may develop an expressionless or ‘mask-like’ face. Many people experience depression and some develop dementia. After several years sufferers may develop a shuffling walk without arm movement. Initiating activity may be difficult but once started they move too fast and end up almost running.



Treatment involves medical management through the use of medications and therapy. Physiotherapy intervention is based around postural education, movement re-education, self management and prevention of complications.

The Sheffield branch of Parkinson’s UK now has two exercise groups every week for people with Parkinson’s at the Hallamshire Physiotherapy clinic in Broomhill, Sheffield. The groups’ aim is to increase members’ exercise tolerance and educate people with Parkinson’s about how they can best manage their condition and lead a normal and active life. A major priority is to have fun.

Exercise is beneficial to anybody of any age. This is true of people with neurological conditions. Working under the guidance of an experienced physiotherapist and motivated by other members of the group, people are progressed over several weeks so as to achieve their specific goals and then to maintain and develop their fitness.

Parkinson’s UK run exercise classes for their membership throughout Sheffield. A posture and balance class is held at Hallamshire Physiotherapy on Tuesdays at 11am and on Saturday at 10.30am.
Tuesdays class is led by Karen Hodgson, Director of Hallamshire Physiotherapy and Saturdays by Ian Brocklesby, Senior Physiotherapist at the clinic.

Variety and interest is provided from time to time by other well qualified physiotherapists associated with Hallamshire Physiotherapy.

If you have Parkinson’s, or if you know of a relative or friend with this condition who you think may benefit from joining one of these classes, please contact Bhanu Ramaswamy of the Sheffield branch of Parkinsons UK for further details or to join a class. She can be contacted at the clinic on (0114) 2671223. 

Newly Diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease?


Karen Hodgson discusses physiotherapy for newly diagnosed people with Parkinsons with Senior Physiotherapist, Bhanu Ramaswamy.



When you have been newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s there are many questions and thoughts flying around your head. Thinking about physiotherapy may not be one of them, however you may well have been experiencing symptoms for a few years before diagnosis (Schrag et al, 2014) and some of the ones related to decreasing movement can be addressed by physiotherapy (Keus et al, 2014).

For example, the European Physiotherapy Guideline (Keus et al, 2014), the recommended guidance for physiotherapists to use in the UK, note that many people with Parkinson’s develop secondary problems e.g. decreased endurance and fitness, due to a less active lifestyle when not sure of the sort of activity that would be best for them. This also leads to changes in the way muscles and joints work effectively, affecting posture and the ability to move easily. Physiotherapy can help with all these issues, educating an individual to monitor their Parkinson’s themselves, and teaching a person to manage or minimise the secondary issues.

In addition to traditional physiotherapy, there is more recent evidence demonstrating the benefits of physical activity for people in the early stages of Parkinson’s in maintaining function for a longer period of time (McConaghy 2014, Combs et al, 2011). The treatment for people newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the clinic is headed up by Bhanu Ramaswamy, a senior physiotherapist, and co-ordinator for exercise and physical activity provision across Sheffield for the charity, Parkinson’s UK. She has gained additional qualifications in exercise prescription for people with medical conditions to better assess fitness and exercise needs.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Bhanu at the clinic 0114 2671223.

Do you want to slow your Parkinsons down?

sheffield physiotherapy

Breaking news: First class starts Tuesday 18 October 2016

PD Warrior (Karen Hodgson discusses the PDWarrior programme) is an exercise philosophy that aims to slow your Parkinson’s down. Developed in Australia in 2011 by two neurological physiotherapists Melissa McConaghy and Lynn Tullock, it has already helped thousands of people around the world. It is now coming to Sheffield.

PD Warrior is a ‘neuro-active’ programme (Melissa McConaghy explains the PDWarrior programme) that is designed specifically for the person with Parkinsons. Medication helps with symptom relief and general exercise programs will keep you healthy, but neither of them slow the progression of your disease. The recent evidence demonstrates that the right kind of exercise programme is the only way to modify the course of your disease.

PD Warrior is designed for people are:
• In the early stages of idiopathic Parkinson’s
• Reasonably fit and active
• Motivated individuals

PD Warrior aims to show you how exercise can be enjoyable but also to show you how to exercise for life so you are in peak physical and mental condition at every stage of the disease.

Hallamshire Physiotherapy is now a licensed facility with 2 accredited instructors – Karen Hodgson and Bhanu Ramaswamy.

There are no other facilities in the region offering this successful programme.

We are holding an introductory evening on Wednesday 17 August to introduce the concept and then we will be starting an initial programme and circuit based class.

If you would like to:

• Look, move and feel better
• Find out how to start a neuroactive exercise
• Build your confidence
• Slow the progression of your Parkinsons

Then, contact the clinic on 0114 2671223 to discuss any issues/costs or to register for the introductory session. There is no referral required.

If you would like to find out more about PD Warrior please visit their website


Combs S et al (2011). Boxing training for patients with Parkinson’s disease: A Case series. Physical Therapy; 91; 132 – 142

Keus SHJ, Munneke M, Graziano M et al (2014). European Physiotherapy Guideline for Parkinson’s Disease. KNGF/ ParkinsonNet, the Netherlands

McConaghy M (2014). The new Parkinson’s treatment: Exercise is medicine. New South Wales, Publish-Me

Schrag A, Horsfall L, Walters K et al (2014). Prediagnostic presentations of Parkinson’s disease in primary care: a case-control study. The Lancet Neurology; 14 (1): 57 – 64