Click To View Our COVID-19 Protocols

[wpseo_breadcrumb]

Physical Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease

Apr 1, 2016

April is Parkinson’s disease awareness month!!  Did you know that one million individuals in the United States are living with this disease?  Physical Therapy has always been a component of care for individuals with Parkinson’s. The past twenty years of rehabilitative research has revealed several important findings which physical therapists who specialize with this patient population would like patients to know.  The earlier care is initiated, the better the outcomes.  It used to be that persons were not referred for therapy until much disability had occurred or if someone was experiencing falls.  Now, there are proven interventions to address the disease early so that patients can be empowered to know what exercises and habits can help them even in the earliest stages.  Being involved in activity and movement is very important.  Rigidity (a form of muscle tightness) of the axial (spinal) muscles can be present even in the early stages and learning to improve mobility in this body region can carry over to being able to maintain long term functional capabilities.  There is also a sensory/motor disconnect whereby patients feel they are moving as big as they can when in fact they are not.  This change is very subtle over time and the patient is often unaware of it until someone else points it out to them.  Aerobic conditioning is very important to maintain at all stages of the disease and patients can benefit from guidance on how to incorporate this into their lives.   Postural changes can also be a subtle progression with this disease and can be improved with exercise and patient education.  Tremor remains resistant to interventions to stop it but there are compensatory techniques which can be learned in order to cope with tremor.

At Optimal Physical Therapy, we offer the LSVT BIG  program which is an intensive four week, four times a week one on one hour long intervention to help patients “re-calibrate” their movement capacity make functional gains and maintain gains.  We also offer individualized traditional therapy approaches for persons who may not be able to commit to an intensive program.  The important thing to do is to get involved doing something!!!!  If you or someone you care about has Parkinson’s and you wish to learn more about how we can help, please call us at (724)779-1300.

Similar Articles

How to Make a Homemade Reusable Ice Pack

How to Make a Homemade Reusable Ice Pack

When you have an acute injury or are recovering from surgery, it is often recommended that you apply ice to help control swelling, inflammation and pain to the affected area.  Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation can all help control what occurs at the injured site. ...

Exercise in Disguise

Exercise in Disguise

Do you exercise? When most individuals in the United States think of exercise, they think structured exercise perhaps of a gym environment with machines or a structured class of aerobics or Zumba or yoga. The fitness industry can offer a variety of ways to put in some...

Physical Therapists stand at the ready to help with the Opioid Crisis

Physical Therapists stand at the ready to help with the Opioid Crisis

Physical Therapists stand at the ready to help with the Opioid Crisis   Did you know that Physical Therapy is a profession that was actually birthed out of national crisis situations?  In 1917, the US War department’s surgeon general saw the great need for a special...