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Physical Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease

What is Parkinson’s? 

Parkinson’s affects about a million adults in the United States. It is a progressive nuerodegenerative disorder meaning that over time it does get worse, and that it’s caused by degeneration of neurons in the brain. The specific neurons affected produce a chemical called dopamine. Parkinson’s causes tremor, slow movement, loss of coordination, and muscle stiffness. 

While Parkinson’s does not have a cure, symptoms can be managed, and progression can be slowed allowing people with Parkinson’s to live a high quality and active life. 

 

What can be done? 

Currently, the primary treatments for Parkinson’s are medication and exercise. There are surgical options for people who have exhausted the medications available, or who suffer profound motor deficits. Additional studies are ongoing looking at medical marijuana and other complementary or alternative treatments as well.  

 

Medication 

It is important for people with Parkinson’s to work closely with their neurologist because each patient will require a different combination of medications.  

The first choice for many patients will be one of the levadopa drugs. This chemical is converted into dopamine in the brain to reduce symptoms like tremor, rigidity, and poor coordination.  

There are other drugs that may be used in place of, or in combination with levadopa to manage symptoms. Most patients will need ongoing assessments and changes in their medication regimen as their symptoms progress and change 

 

Exercise 

Research has shown that exercise can help with both motor and non-motor symptoms in people with Parkinson’s. The most important thing for people with Parkinson’s is to get started with exercise early in the disease process and to be consistent with exercise. Your exercise program should focus on a few different components: 

  1. Flexibility exercises 

  2. Aerobic activity 

  3. Muscle strengthening 

Some types of exercise like Tai Chi, yoga, Pilates, biking, or dancing combine several of these elements. 

Your physical therapist will complete an individualized evaluation to determine the areas where you have the most trouble, then work with you to design an exercise program to address these areas. They can help you find beneficial types of exercise that you enjoy, which will help you stay consistent with your program and reap the most benefits.  

There are exercise programs specifically designed for treatment of Parkinson’s disease, including the LSVT BIG program. This is a program delivered by a specially trained physical therapist over 16 sessions that focuses on getting people to make bigger movements. The BIG program has been shown to improve balance, increase quality of life, and help people walk faster with bigger steps.  

While there is no one answer to manage symptoms and slow progression of Parkinson’s disease, working with your physician and your physical therapist using a combination of medication and exercise has been shown to lead to the highest quality of life.  

At Holsman Physical Therapy, exercise is made a little easier with the help of the most Advanced technologies in the world such as: AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill®; SoloStep Falls Prevention Harness System; Kinesiq's Kine-Sim, the first balance and motor capacity exercise equipment dedicated to physical and neurological rehabilitation as well as to preservation of functional autonomy; and Power Plate Pro commercial vibration training device.

Contact Us:

New Jersey locations:

Bloomfield NJ Physical Therapy 44 Park Street Bloomfield , NJ 07003 Phone: 9736852335 Email us

Clifton NJ Physical Therapy  - 1070 Clifton Ave 1070 Clifton Ave #1A Clifton , NJ 07013 Phone: 973-246-6565 Email us

Clifton NJ Physical Therapy  - 1700 Rte 3 West 1700 Rte 3 West #Grnd Clifton , NJ 07013 Phone: 862-591-1000 Email us

Fair Lawn NJ Physical Therapy  - Holsman Physical and Occupational Therapy 15-01 Broadway Ste 12 Fair Lawn , NJ 07410 Phone: 201-355-5199 Email us

Kearny NJ Physical Therapy  711 Kearny Ave Kearny , NJ 07032 Phone: 201-535-8555 Email us

Rahway NJ Physical Therapy 1600 Saint Georges Ave #107 Rahway , NJ 07065 Phone: 732-428-5566 Email us

Cedar Grove NJ Physical Therapy  408 Pompton Ave Cedar Grove , NJ 07009 Phone: 973-433-0732 Email us

Caldwell NJ Physical Therapy  378 Bloomfield Ave Caldwell , NJ 07006 Phone: 973-968-6002 Email us

Fair Lawn NJ Physical Therapy  - Holsman Children's Therapy Center 15-01 Broadway Ste 14C Fair Lawn , NJ 07410 Phone: 201-351-1682 Email us

Newark NJ Physical Therapy  1060 Broad St #Bsmt Newark , NJ 07102 Phone: 973-457-4232 Email us

Jersey City NJ Physical Therapy  361 Montgomery St Jersey City , NJ 07302 Phone: 201-932-2656 Email us

Paterson NJ Physical Therapy 764 Main St. Suite 401 Paterson, NJ 07503 Phone: 973-705-7255 Email us

New York Locations:

Bronx NY Physical Therapy - 817 E 180th St 817 E 180th St Bronx , NY 10460 Phone: 718-355-9652 Email us

Bronx NY Morris Park  Physical Therapy - 799 Morris Park Ave 799 Morris Park Ave Bronx , NY 10462 Phone: 718-684-6300 Email us

Brooklyn NY Physical Therapy  423 Lincoln Pl Brooklyn , NY 11238-5499 Phone: 347-708-9701 Email us

Brooklyn NY Liberty Ave 1084 Liberty Ave Brooklyn, NY 11208 Phone: 347-586-0625 Email us

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