PT for Parkinson's?

Alan Fried albe at
Sat Jan 25 09:32:46 EST 1997

Derek Warnick <respighi at> wrote:

>I am a Physical Therapy student at Thomas Jefferson University and need
>to find some information on treatment of Parkinson's Disease, preferably
>through means of physical therapy or any other non-pharmaceutical
>means.  I'd appreciate any help available.

Hi Derek

I have been a physical therapist for 13 years and have worked with many patients with Parkinsons.

The treatment is relatively easy depending on the severity of the disease. As you know it's a progressive disease with the
early stages being very mild and the later stages being very severe.

As with all patients you should be essentially be neutral and tranquil but more so with a Parkinson's patient because
abrasiveness can cause the tremors to get worse. When doing ambulation with these patients stress continuity of movement
which may reduce the shuffling gait pattern. In most patients who have difficulty ambulating, the rollator walker is usually
the best type of assistive device because it provides for the continuity of movement.

As far as mat exercises are concerned lower and counter trunk rotation may help brake up the cogwheel rigidity and perhaps
gentle massage and or stroking as well.

I also believe that the drug treatment is much better than it has been in the past for arresting the symptoms of the disease
and is getting better. There is also some surgeries being developed for treatment as well. The one I've heard of is called a
pallidectomy which I believe involves the removal of the Globus Pallidus (one of the basal ganglia).

For more information on the subject use one of your search engines and you will find numerous Parkinson's web sites. The APTA
also has a web site too which may give you some leads.

Hope this helps


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