parkinson's disease physical therapy

How Physical Therapy Can Help Manage Parkinson’s disease

The recent news that Rev. Jesse Jackson that he has Parkinson’s disease raised focus again on an important connection: Physical Therapy.

Wrote Jackson: “For me, a Parkinson’s diagnosis is not a stop sign but rather a signal that I must make lifestyle changes and dedicate myself to physical therapy in hopes of slowing the disease’s progression.”

How does physical therapy help Parkinson’s Disease?

As WebMD notes: “Physical therapy cannot cure Parkinson’s disease, because at this time, neurological damage cannot be reversed. But therapy can help you compensate for the changes brought about by the condition. These ‘compensatory treatments,’ as they’re called, include learning about new movement techniques, strategies, and equipment. A physical therapist can teach you exercises to strengthen and loosen muscles. Many of these exercises can be performed at home. The goal of physical therapy is to improve your independence and quality of life by improving movement and function and relieving pain.”

The post further notes that physical therapy can help with:

  • Balance problems
  • Lack of coordination
  • Fatigue
  • Pain
  • Gait
  • Immobility
  • Weakness

The American Physical Therapy Association notes: “Depending on the nature and severity of your condition, your treatment program may focus on activities and education to help you:”

  • Improve your fitness level, strength, and flexibility
  • Develop more effective strategies to get in and out of bed, chairs, and cars
  • Turn over in bed more easily
  • Stand and turn to change directions more efficiently
  • Improve the smoothness and coordination of your walking
  • Improve your ability to perform hand movements
  • Decrease your risk of falling
  • Improve your ability to climb and descend stairs and curbs
  • Perform more than 1 task at a time more efficiently
  • Participate in activities that are important to you