Abdominal massage for the relief of constipation in people with Parkinson’s: a qualitative study

Doreen McClurg, Kerry Walker, Patricia Aitchison, Kathy Jamieson, Lucy Dickinson, Lorna Paul, Suzanne Hagen, AnneLouise Cunnington

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17 Citations (Scopus)
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Objectives. To explore the experiences of people with Parkinson's (PwP) who suffer from constipation, the impact this has on their lives, and the effect of using lifestyle changes and abdominal massage as a form of constipation management. Method. Fourteen semistructured interviews were completed (8 males and 6 females; mean age 72.2 years) at the end of a care programme, which consisted of either lifestyle advice and abdominal massage (intervention group; n=7) or lifestyle advice only (control group; n=7). Data were analysed using constant-comparison techniques and Framework methods. Themes and key quotes were identified to depict major findings. Findings. Four key themes were identified: (i) the adverse impact of bowel problems on quality of life; (ii) positive experience of behaviour adjustments: experimentation; (iii) abdominal massage as a dynamic and relaxing tool: experiential learning (intervention group only); (iv) abdominal massage as a contingency plan: hesitation (control group only). Constipation was reported as having a significant impact on quality of life. Participants in both groups perceived lifestyle advice to relieve symptoms. Specific improvements were described in those who also received the abdominal massage. Conclusions. Both lifestyle advice and abdominal massage were perceived to be beneficial in relieving symptoms of constipation for PwP.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4842090
Number of pages10
JournalParkinson's Disease
Early online date8 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


  • constipation
  • neurogenic bowel
  • abdominal massage


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