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How Physical Therapy Helps Parkinson’s Disease

Physical therapy may help delay the decline of motor skills in people living with Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative brain condition, presents with a number of symptoms. Tremors are the most prominent symptom of the disease. While other movement related signs and symptoms exist, others related to the mind (thinking) and mood (depression) are invisible.

Physical Therapy for Parkinson’s focuses on rehabilitation of muscles and other soft tissue. Thus, it improves the motion-related symptoms of Parkinson’s—muscle rigidity, unstable posture, and slow movement. This is especially possible in the early stages of the disease. A physical therapist can also train patients in the proper use of walkers, canes. In doing these things, the patient and therapist as a team work to reduce the risk of falling.

Through physical therapy programs, people living with Parkinson’s can improve their balance, proprioception (movement self-awareness), and range of motion. Along with this comes the confidence in movement and doing daily activities—and even improved mood.

Physical therapy treatments will differ according to the patient. Common interventions include a supervised rehab exercise program. A special one that we use at Be at Be Fit is a bodyweight support treadmill that can help those who fear falling. It also helps those who have weakness in the lower extremities until they build up sufficient strength.