Straight To The Point Blog

Treating Parkinson’s Disease with Physical Therapy

May 12th, 2019

Did you know that Parkinson’s Disease can be treated with physical therapy?

Parkinson’s Disease is a neurodegenerative disorder affecting dopamine producing neurons in specific regions in the brain. According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, about 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease each year.

People with Parkinson’s can show the following motor symptoms:

  • Tremors
  • Slowness of movement (bradykinesia)
  • Stiffness/rigidity
  • Shuffled walking
  • Writing changes
  • Speech changes

They can also have non-motor symptoms like depression, apathy, sleep behavior disorders, and cognitive impairment.

In this video, Sandra Lee, DPT, explains how some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease can be managed through carefully guided physical therapy.

Exercise in people with Parkinson’s has been shown to help you use your dopamine more efficiently, the neurotransmitter in the brain that helps regulate movement. Physical therapists will work with Parkinson’s patients on high intensity aerobic exercise, large amplitude/ BIG movements, and stretching. They will also work on strengthening to help balance, strength, posture and flexibility. Some goals include increasing walking speed and step length; and improving daily functions, such as getting out of a chair or chasing grandkids.

Learn more about other ways physical therapy can treat neurological and vestibular issues, including concussion and Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV).

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