About Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases, which is characterized by a progressive decrease in motor functions and speech skills.
The most susceptible age group to developing this condition consists of elderly adults, rendering them unable to take care of themselves.
Unfortunately, and as the disease progresses, patients start losing more functions, which reduces their autonomous abilities. Therefore, it is crucial to start physical therapy early on in the process to slow down the neuronal degeneration and restore some lost functions.
Signs and Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
In most cases, the signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease start in a subtle way, which is the main reason for diagnostic delay.
In the beginning, patients may experience slight tremors of their hands, stiffness of the lower limbs, and a characteristic gait. Additionally, facial expressions are often compromised, along with speech and tone of voice.
Over time, the signs start to become more severe, presenting as imbalance, generalized lethargy (i.e., weakness), and a diminished sense of smell.
Note that the clinical presentation of Parkinson’s disease varies between patients, depending on several factors, including age, rate of neuronal degeneration, and treatment efforts.
Physical therapy for Patients with Parkinson’s Disease
In this section, we will decipher some physical therapy techniques used to improve the patient’s prognosis and sustain his/her independence.
One specific form of physical therapy for patients with Parkinson’s disease is known as LSVT BIG training, which stands for Lee Silverman Voice Treatment.
During this training, patients will make overexaggerated movements, such as high steps and arm swings, to retrain their muscular system and halt the progress of hypokinesia.
You may have also heard of LSVT LOUD, which targets voice amplification to treat voice tones in patients.
Both of these techniques proved to be very effective in helping patients with Parkinson’s disease. We have LSVT certified therapist. Contact us to learn more.
Reciprocal movements describe side-to-side and left-to-right motion patterns (e.g., swinging arms, taking steps as you walk), which are severely impacted by Parkinson’s disease.
The goal of the physical therapist will be to reinforce reciprocal motion patterns, using recumbent bicycles, elliptical machines, and other tools.
Maintaining balance is a complex process that involves several physiological systems working simultaneously, including the visual feedback, vestibular system, and proprioception.
Parkinson’s disease targets the neurons responsible for coordinating these processes, which leads to the classic gait associated with most neurodegenerative diseases, as well as severe instability.
Gait training revolves around the practice of specific exercises that improve balance and restore patients’ confidence when walking in public places.
Without physical therapy, this would be difficult.
Parkinson’s disease can be scary but try to surround yourself with supportive family, friends and a good medical team. For this reason, physical therapy should be started early on in the process to prevent any unnecessary complications and function loss.
Hopefully, this article managed to shed some light on the important role of physical therapy in the management of Parkinson’s disease, but if you want to learn more information, don’t hesitate to reach out to us by clicking on this link.