The meanings of physiotherapy and exercise for people living with progressive cerebellar ataxia

The purpose of this study was to understand the meanings of exercise and physiotherapy for people living with a progressive cerebellar ataxia. An interpretative phenomenological analysis was undertaken with 12 participants (4 women, 8 men) recruited via their membership of a national support group. Semistructured interviews were audiorecorded and transcribed. Data were analyzed using interpretivist methods.

Two main themes were constructed. Firstly, participants highly valued building collaborative and supportive long-term therapeutic relationships with expert physiotherapists and were not necessarily looking to improve ataxia-related impairments. Secondly, self-devised exercise conferred multiple psychosocial benefits that were largely absent from physiotherapist-prescribed home exercise programs.

People living with ataxia recounted uniquely situated and contextualized understandings of exercise and physiotherapy that may differ significantly from the meaning of these terms to physiotherapists. Special attention should be given to patients’ perspectives in order to provide services that are meaningful and valued by people living with ataxia.

Implications for Rehabilitation Physiotherapists should consider exploring the meaning of exercise and physiotherapy with individual patients to inform appropriate exercise prescription and advice. Poorly managed and inexpertly prescribed home exercise programs risk inadvertently disregarding the possible positive psychosocial effects of exercise participation and may prevent long-term engagement. To sustain long-term engagement prescribed exercises should be enjoyable, meaningful, satisfying and appropriately challenging. Physiotherapists should consider providing sustained, collaborative and flexible services.

Advertisements

Published by

bettydroche

My interest in health and fitness started at a young age. Even though I had been educated and trained as an engineer in Europe I always want to follow my passion. I have made some guest appearances on a health educational program TV in Europe and, this experience, has made me follow my passion of sharing wellness information with others.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s