As many as one million people in the US are living with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Parkinson’s is a chronic and progressive movement disorder, meaning the symptoms continue and worsen over time. The average onset for all people with Parkinson’s is age 60 and although there is no cure for the disease, there are treatment options to help manage the symptoms.
Early Warning Signs
It’s important to recognize the early warning signs of PD. An early diagnosis may help slow the onset of the disease. Some of these symptoms are normal signs of aging. If you have more than one symptom or a symptom persists, talk with your doctor.
- Tremor or Shaking
- Dizziness or Fainting
- Trouble Moving or Walking
- Loss of Smell
- Trouble Sleeping
- Soft or Low Voice
- Change in Handwriting
How Can Therapy Help?
Taking advantage of the expertise of a team of professionals can be very beneficial for somebody living with Parkinson’s. In addition to a specialized neurologist, physical, occupational and speech therapy can effectively manage the symptoms and side effects of PD to maximize quality of life.
A Physical Therapist (PT) is trained to work with individuals to regain and maintain mobility. A PT can develop customized exercise programs to address balance problems, lack of coordination, fatigue, pain, gait, immobility, and weakness.
Occupational Therapists (OT) can help modify your environment and daily activities in order to accommodate your changing needs. Occupational therapy focuses on helping you maintain your independence.
A Speech-language Pathologist (SLP) can help improve Parkinson’s disease speech problems and provide coping strategies for those who have trouble swallowing.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, talk with your doctor about the benefits of physical, occupational and speech therapy.
Source: Parkinson’s Disease Foundation