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  • Laurel Sampson MPT

How can therapy help with Parkinson’s Disease?

Last time we chatted about what Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is, common symptoms, and how to diagnose PD. This time I want to give you an overview of how Occupational, Speech and Physical Therapy can help people with PD maximize their independence in their daily routine.

Occupational Therapists can help with:

• Instructing techniques for use of aides to improve independence and safety with dressing and grooming

• Recommending adaptive equipment and techniques for eating, dinnerware, cooking, writing and homemaking

• Recommending home modifications

• Providing education on energy conservation

• Providing instruction regarding driving safety and modifications

• Providing specific arm and hand treatment

Speech Therapists can help with:

• Assessing and recommending communication devices and technologies

• Education with safety with swallowing

• Providing specific speech, language, and communication treatment

• Assisting with cognition, memory, and safety challenges

Physical Therapists can help with:

• Instructing static and dynamic balance training

• Improving overall strength and flexibility

• Assisting with pain management.

• Providing gait training – recommending adaptive devices if appropriate, assessing even and uneven surfaces, stairs, and inclines


Exercises of all kinds are very important with maintaining mobility and maximizing one’s safety and independence with your daily routine. This is especially true for people dealing with neurological degenerative diseases. Studies have shown that exercises (strengthening and aerobic) can:

• Upregulate the production of growth factors and receptors

• Decrease dopamine neuron damage

• Decrease cellular damage

• Decrease cellular inflammation and oxidative stress.

In summary – the more you exercise, the more you are supporting and improving the health of your cells and tissues throughout the brain and body. Exercising helps limit the extent of damage from the disease process at the cellular level. Trained therapists can help you determine which exercises are right and safe for you.

What’s Next?

Next time we will chat about a very specific therapy treatment plan for Parkinson’s Disease called LSVT BIG.

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