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Understanding Physical Therapy Benefits For Parkinson's Disease

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If you've been diagnosed with a neurological disorder such as Parkinson's disease, your care team will likely include a physical therapist or physiotherapy clinic. Because neurological conditions affect so many parts of your body's general function, conditions like Parkinson's disease can interfere with your ability to walk, eat, hear and see. Physical therapy treatments will aim to help preserve the body's natural functions as best as possible. Here are some of the benefits that you may see from physical therapy as a Parkinson's patient.

Improved Ambulatory Ability

Working with a physical therapist will help you to preserve the length of your stride or restore it if you've suffered some loss of range. This restoration will give you more confidence on your feet. Additionally, physical therapy will help you maintain your balance, because many of the exercises will focus on muscle control necessary for balance control.

Improved balance and confidence in your stride often means a reduction in fall incidents, which is vital for your overall well-being. As you age, falls put you at greater risk of serious injuries, including hip fractures. You can reduce the chances of things like this with consistent physical therapy. Ambulatory physical therapy can include things like treadmill activities, stretches and resistance exercises.

Consistent Cadence

Routine exercise, including a progressive walking therapy program, will help you to maintain your cadence as your Parkinson's disease progresses. Treadmill exercises are good for this because you can adjust the incline and resistance of the treadmill as you build strength. Additionally, water therapy is good for cadence preservation, because the lack of resistance in the water helps you focus on gross motor skills.  

Preserved Muscle Tone and Grip Strength

Physical therapy can also help you to preserve those muscles used for grip, which may help you to hold things with fewer tremors and drops. Activities with stress balls, spring-loaded tension handles and pinching products can help to work those muscles that control and regulate your grip. Since Parkinson's disease can affect your ability to hold things, this is an important consideration.

As you can see, there are several different physical therapy methods used for patients who have Parkinson's disease. If you're newly diagnosed, you should talk with your care provider about starting a long-term physical therapy program right away. The sooner you start focusing on these necessary skills, the better your chances will be of mitigating the deterioration that can come with the disease.