Physical Therapy and Parkinson’s Disease

Improve your mobility and regain your independence with PT
By Ben Wobker, PT, MSPT, CSCS, SFMAc
Physical Therapy and Parkinson’s Disease

More than 10 million people worldwide have been diagnosed and are currently living with Parkinson’s disease (PD). This chronic condition is defined as a progressive disorder of the nervous system and causes a loss of muscle control and movement. According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, this disease is a result of “[the] death of vital nerve cells in the brain.” These cells are responsible for creating dopamine – a chemical used to send signals to the brain that tells the body to move.

Because the disease originates in the brain, it can also lead to impaired cognition. Slowed movement, lack of coordination, and tremors are all common early stage symptoms a person might experience with Parkinson’s. This can make simple tasks overwhelming, time-consuming, and just plain tiring. 

Physical Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease Promotes Mobility

While there isn’t a cure for Parkinson’s disease, there are ways to significantly improve and alleviate the symptoms. Physical therapy is an important part of any treatment plan for people with Parkinson’s as it helps to loosen the muscles -- improving mobility, reducing stiffness and pain. I think Dr. Daniel Burdick from Evergreen Health’s Parkinson’s team sums it best for MDs and PTs when he says, “One of the things I love best about being a movement disorders neurologist is the opportunity to establish rapport and trust over a long-term relationship with my patients.” The impact and relationship that a clinician has with a patient can be life changing for both parties involved.

Physical therapists can help to develop an exercise program that can help to address symptoms of PD that include:

  • Balance problems
  • Lack of coordination
  • Fatigue
  • Freezing
  • Gait
  • Weakness
  • Immobility 

Because PD is a chronic progressive disorder, the importance-- and benefits-- of a consistent exercise regime can’t be understated. A physical therapist will work with you or your loved one to target flexibility, lower-extremity strength and conditioning to help improve overall functional ability.

On-Demand Physical Therapy Paves the Road to Relief 

One of the most frustrating things people with Parkinson’s experience is fatigue. Fifty-percent of people with PD say that fatigue is a major problem, with one third of those people reporting that it’s their MOST disabling symptom. When you’re already worn out, the most basic tasks can seem be more overwhelming, and a trip to the clinic for physical therapy visit can feel like an impossible burden. 

Even if you enlist the help of a caregiver and make your way to the clinic, being overly fatigued during a PT session is not as effective. With on-demand physical therapy, we come to you. Not only does this minimize the effort of getting the care you need to maintain a customized exercise routine, but it also to take some of the load of your caregivers.

By having a trusted physical therapist come to your home, we are also able to better understand your surroundings in order to make a successful exercise plan that makes the most sense for you. We are able to create a plan that includes range of motion exercises, balance work, strength training, and more -- all from the comfort of your home. Because we are able to assess your daily surroundings, we can also We make recommendations for removing obstacles or moving furniture to create a safer environment that promotes in-home exercise, allows for easier movement, and reduces the risk of falls.

If you or a loved one are suffering from PD, we’re here to help. Check out all of Luna’s on-demand physical therapy services in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Orange County, and now in Seattle

If you or a loved one are suffering from Parkinson’s disease, we’re here to help.
Schedule Visit