Parkinson’s disease can be broadly described as a multifaceted neurodegenerative disease that has an effect on both motor and cognitive functions of an individual. The disorder is prevalent in approximately one percent of Americans older than the age of sixty and four percent of the oldest American population and is being observed to double at an exponential rate. Intervention through physical therapy has proven to be extremely beneficial in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) in the past decades according to systematic reviews. While medication has been the only mode of treatment for PD promising rehabilitation through physical therapy can be quite helpful in managing the condition effectively.
About Parkinson’s disease
As discussed, the condition is diagnosed by a neurologist and the symptoms and severity may vary in different patients, depending on age and gender. These include motor disabilities like bradykinesia, tremors, and rigidity in the body which can be the telltale signs along with difficulty in walking, festination, retropulsion, freezing episodes, micrographia, speech and swallowing changes. Some other symptoms that can be classified as non-movement are losing control of the bowels, cognitive problems like attention and memory, sleep disorders, and sensory changes. The motor dysfunction can be greatly controlled and managed through various physical therapy techniques as described below.
This is the treatment that is specifically used to treat the patients with PD and enable them to use their body in a normal manner. This physical modality can be modified and customized according to the need of different patients. It is recommended by expert therapists in the early and middle stages of the condition. The motor functions are significantly improved and one can also observe the slowing of the progression of the condition when seeking regular therapy sessions. The outcomes of the LSVT treatments are backed by substantial research and the design of the rehabilitation programs is unique and community-based.
Along with the improvement in motor skills, balance therapy also comes under the wide umbrella of physical therapy that helps the patients avoid grave injuries and falls. This therapy is recommended to PD patients who complain of dizziness and vertigo and require assistance in getting from point A to B. The gait is significantly improved to help the patients carry out their day to day tasks without risking injuries. Certain maneuvers are also taught by professional physical therapists for successful aversion of the dizzy spells.
Occupational therapy including speech therapy can help the patients tackle the speaking and swallowing issues in an efficient manner. The focus is on the patients who suffer from impairments making their speech feeble, inaudible, and unclear to any other individual. The speech therapy programs can help stretch and stretch the muscles involved in speech, expression, or swallowing and teach coping strategies that might make all these actions much easier and hassle-free for a PD patient. The conditioning of these muscles helps improve communication and enhance the patient’s lifestyle.
Physical and occupational therapy can make a difference
In the case of neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson’s disorder, the patient needs appropriate physical rehabilitation through regular exercise to keep the muscles active, flexible, and strong for day to day functioning. Seeking occupational therapy from the correct practitioner can help subdue the symptoms quite a lot and improve the cognitive capabilities as well. These therapies are designed to improve posture, help achieve balance while walking, jogging, or running, and maintain a healthy regime. Dedicated therapeutic exercises as per the patient’s requirement can challenge the body to stay fit in a controlled and regulated way. Other activities like indulging in golfing, gardening, or subtle sports can also keep the patient engaged fruitfully.