Skip to content

    Parkinson's Disease Health Center

    Select An Article

    Physical and Occupational Therapy for Parkinson's Disease

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    The symptoms of Parkinson's disease may cause you to move more slowly. You may also feel tightness, pain, and weakness, especially in the muscles and joints. Physical and occupational therapy may help with these symptoms.

    How Does Physical Therapy Help Parkinson's Disease?

    Physical therapy cannot cure Parkinson's disease, because at this time, neurological damage cannot be reversed. But therapy can help you compensate for the changes brought about by the condition. These "compensatory treatments," as they're called, include learning about new movement techniques, strategies, and equipment. A physical therapist can teach you exercises to strengthen and loosen muscles. Many of these exercises can be performed at home. The goal of physical therapy is to improve your independence and quality of life by improving movement and function and relieving pain.

    Physical therapy can help with:

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

    Important note: Some physical therapists may apply diathermy (local heat application produced by high-frequency electrical current) to relieve muscle aches and pains. This could be dangerous to patients who have deep brain stimulators.

    Where Can I Receive Physical Therapy?

    Many hospitals offer outpatient physical therapy services. However, you may need to get a doctor's order to be seen in physical therapy. If you feel you can benefit from physical therapy, do not hesitate to ask your doctor for a referral.

    How Many Physical Therapy Visits Will I Need?

    Treatments in physical therapy often can be completed in one to three office visits. The first appointment includes an evaluation and recommendations for exercises. The following appointments check your progress and review and expand your home program. Most hospitals can provide additional sessions of outpatient therapy if needed.

    What Other Services Does Physical Therapy Provide?

    Recommendations. A physical therapist can make recommendations for physical therapy at home, at an outpatient facility, or at a nursing or rehabilitation facility.

    Work capacity evaluations. Many physical therapists can perform functional capacity evaluations to provide more information for disability claims based on physical performance. This functional capacity evaluation can be useful when the Social Security office denies disability to a person who is unable to work for an eight-hour day.

    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    Parkinsons disease illustration
    Causes, symptoms, and treatments.
    hands on walker
    How does the disease progress?
     
    man with serious expression
    8 common questions and answers.
    intelligence quotient illustration
    What are the advantages of DBS?
     
    Parkinsons Disease Medications
    Article
    Questions Doctor Parkinsons
    Article
     
    Eating Right
    Article
    Parkinsons Exercise
    Article
     
    daughter consoling depressed mother
    Article
    senior man's hands
    Article
     
    Parkinsons Daily
    Article
    Acupunture
    Article