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Physical coping strategies

Is Physical and/or Occupational Therapy Beneficial for Parkinson's Disease Patients?

There is no scientific evidence that complementary therapies can slow, stop, or reverse the progression of Parkinson's disease, but many people with the disease have found them beneficial because it helps them keep a positive mindset, as well as managing their symptoms on a daily basis. Many Parkinson's disease symptoms affect movement. Tight muscles, tremors, and difficulty maintaining your balance can all make moving around safely without falling difficult. Physical and occupational therapy, in addition to your doctor's prescribed medication, can help with movement issues. These programmes teach you strategies and skills to help you stay active and independent.

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Physical therapy for Parkinson’s

Physical therapy is a program that assists in the development of strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination. It begins with an assessment of your current abilities to identify the areas of movement that are causing you problems.


Certain types of physical therapy can help with Parkinson's disease-related movement issues.

Here are a few examples:

Workout with Ropes
Amplitude training
  • Parkinson's disease causes your movements to become progressively smaller.

  • This is known as hypokinesia.

  • Walking becomes a shuffle over time, and your arms can no longer swing freely.

  • Amplitude training, also known as LSVT BIG, enlarges or amplifies your movements to improve their comfort.

  • In this program, you follow your therapist through a series of exaggerated motions. You could take a step while swinging your arms in a wide arc and lifting your knee high in the air.

  • These exercises gradually retrain your muscles to improve range of motion and reverse some of the effects of Parkinson's disease.

Balance Exercise
Balance Training
  • Parkinson's disease can interfere with the coordination of your eyes, inner ears, and feet, which keeps you balanced.

  • If you're unsteady on your feet, you might avoid going anywhere for fear of falling.

  • When you stop walking, you may become deconditioned and even more shaky on your feet.

  • A physical therapist can teach you exercises to help you improve your balance and regain your confidence.

Fitness Training
Reciprocal Pattern Training
  • Parkinson's disease can alter the way you move in tandem with others, such as how you swing your arms when walking.

  • This therapy helps in the retention of arm and leg movements.

  • You learn exercises that require you to move both your arms and legs at the same time. Reciprocal pattern training can include:

o         using an elliptical machine

o         using a stationary bicycle

o         taking a dance class

o         doing tai chi

Kettlebell Workout
Strength Training
  • Both ageing and Parkinson's disease can cause muscle weakness and deconditioning.

  • Physical therapy exercises use light weights or resistance bands to strengthen your muscles.

  • Muscle strength will help you stay balanced and mobile.

  • If you enjoy swimming, some physical therapists provide pool-based therapies.

  • Parkinson's causes muscle tightness, particularly in the hips and legs.

  • A physical therapist can teach you how to lengthen and relax your muscles.

Occupational therapy for Parkinson’s

With Parkinson's disease, limited mobility can make even simple tasks like getting dressed or taking a shower difficult. Occupational therapists teach you the skills you need to function in everyday life, whether you're at home, at work, or with friends.

A therapist will assess your home, office (if you work), and daily routine to identify areas where you could benefit from assistance. An occupational therapist can teach you the following skills: - How to use a walker, cane, or other walking aids if necessary - How to walk while maintaining your balance (for example, by turning slowly when you need to change direction) - Walking tips for staying focused and avoiding falls - Easier ways to get into and out of bed, as well as out of the shower or tub, without falling. - Techniques for dressing, bathing, and performing other self-care tasks with the assistance of grabbers and other assistive devices - Hints for making daily tasks like cooking, eating, and cleaning easier

An occupational therapist can also make suggestions for improvements to your home. These modifications will make your home safer. Examples of these modifications include: - If you use a wheelchair, you should have a roll-in bathtub, - Lower counters, - Rails next to the toilet and in the shower, - Non-skid mats, - Wider doorways, - A shower chair or bench, - A raised toilet seat, - And motion-activated nightlights.

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