Parkinson’s disease (PD) causes many issues, including speech problems, impaired mobility, and difficulty with daily activities. Commonly referred to as “complementary therapies,” physical, occupational, and speech therapy can help patients with PD achieve a better quality of life.
PD causes patients to experience problems and pain related to movement and fatigue, but physical therapy helps relieve—and prevent—these symptoms. Therapists can prescribe exercises designed to improve strength, mobility, flexibility, gait, balance, and much more.
Daily tasks—like dressing, bathing, and eating—are much more difficult for patients with PD. Occupational therapists (OTs) help by showing patients new methods and suggesting specific aids that allow them to continue to perform these activities. Home and workplace evaluations performed by OTs can make these environments safer and easier to navigate for PD patients.
Speech therapy (a.k.a. speech language pathology) can help PD patients improve upon a multitude of debilitating issues associated with voice volume, pronunciation, speech clarity, swallowing, and nonverbal communication (e.g., facial expression and other body language). For patients who are no longer able to speak effectively, speech therapists can recommend communication technology to meets the patient’s specific needs.
Currently, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease—or the neurological damage it causes—but through therapy, patients can find some relief from the pain and physical limitations, and regain independence.