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Parkinson’s Disease and How Physical Therapy Can Help


Parkinson’s Disease is a disorder of the brain that causes uncontrollable movements and other problems such as difficulty with balance and coordination. Classical symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease are:


  • Tremors in the limbs, jaw, and head.

  • Prolonged muscle contractions

  • Slowed movement

  • Impaired balance and coordination


Typical treatments for Parkinson’s Disease include medication, commonly levodopa, which replenishes dopamine in the brain and helps to control the symptoms of uncontrollable movement. In cases where Parkinson’s sufferers don’t respond to medication, deep brain stimulation through small electrodes implanted in the brain may be used. The painless electrical stimulation helps to control the movement-related symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.


Physical therapy is also commonly utilized in conjunction with these treatments, which helps in the following ways:


  • Exercises to strengthen muscles and improve baseline balance, flexibility, and coordination. This can help mitigate some of the effects of Parkinson’s Disease.

  • Stretching to increase flexibility and reduce the muscle rigidity often caused by the disease.

  • Therapies to help improve gait and manage tremors.


The progression of Parkinson’s Disease is typically slow, so upon diagnosis there is usually still a lot of time to consider one’s options about how to cope with the disease. Starting physical therapy early may improve long term health and lifestyle outcomes for sufferers of Parkinson’s.




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