Rigidity is one of the primary symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, affecting up to 89% of people with PD.
Rigidity is felt as stiffness of the arms, legs, and trunk beyond what would result from normal aging or arthritis. Stiffness can be experienced on one or both sides of the body and contribute to a decreased range of motion and muscle or joint pain. Rigidity can also affect the muscles of the face, which contributes to facial masking in PD.
Stretching helps combat the muscle rigidity that comes with PD. It also helps muscles and joints stay flexible. While there are no standard stretching exercises for people with PD, stretches that focus on the trunk and legs are important for balance and walking.
Some important points to remember when stretching:
1) Try to stretch during medication “on” times when you have the best movement.
2) Stretch gently and stay within a range that feels comfortable and does not increase pain.
3) Stretch slowly and hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds.
4) Focus on breathing and do not hold your breath when stretching.
Want to add daily stretching to your exercise routine in 2022? Click below to check out Liz’s free videos featured on the Engage Therapy YouTube Channel.