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Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can help you manage the physical symptoms of Parkinson’s disease . Physical therapists can teach you exercises to do on your own, or you can attend regular physical therapy sessions.

Physical therapy can help you:

  • Increase your strength
  • Decrease rigidity
  • Develop flexibility
  • Improve your stamina
  • Optimize coordination
  • Learn about fall prevention
  • Delay progression of disease

Occupational therapy can help with fine motor skills and writing. In addition, modifications to the living environment can assist in enhancing mobility, independence and safety.

Tai chi has been shown to improve postural stability and decrease falls in patients with Parkinsons disease.

Movement strategy training has been demonstrated in small studies to improve quality of life, walking, balance and overall function, but requires persistent and continuous application in order to maintain benefit.

Speech therapy has been suggested as a method to assist in improving hypophonia, and studies have demonstrated improvement over several years provided that treatment remain ongoing.

References:

Alonso-Frech F, et al. Exercise and physical therapy in early management of Parkinson disease. Neurologist. 2011;17(6 Suppl 1):S47-53.

Parkinson disease. American Association of Neurological Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.aans.org/Patient%20Information/Conditions%20and%20Treatments/Parkinsons%20Disease.aspx . Updated 2005. Accessed August 22, 2012.

Conn HF, Rakel RE. Conn’s Current Therapy 2002. 54th ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders Company; 2002.

Li F, et al. Tai chi and postural stability in patients with parkinson’s disease. NEJM. 2012;366:511-519.

Parkinson Disease. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/parkinsons_disease/parkinsons_disease.htm . Accessed August 22, 2012.

Parkinson's disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated June 6, 2012. Accessed August 22, 2012.

Complementary therapies. Parkinson’s Disease Foundation website. Available at: http://www.pdf.org/en/managing_pd . Accessed August 22, 2012.



Last reviewed September 2013 by Rimas Lukas, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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