According to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, at least 1 million Americans suffer from Parkinson’s disease, which is more than people who suffer from Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis, and Lou Gehrig’s disease combined. At least 40,000 Americans are diagnosed each year with Parkinson’s Disease (PD), noting 15% of these individuals are diagnosed before the age of 50
Although there is still no standard test to show if a patient has Parkinson’s disease, a skilled Neurologist is able to accurately diagnose PD.
Increasingly, the research is showing how Physical Therapy, when combined with medications prescribed by Physicians, can improve a patient’s quality of life, including transfers, ability to walk better. In a recent September 2006 symposium, Dr. John Nutt, one of our country’s lead researchers for Parkinson’s disease (Director, Parkinson’s Center of Oregon, OHSU), states they are becoming increasing involved in researching the long term effects of exercise. Evidence of physical therapy helping improve many with Parkinson’s Disease has been published for over 10 years.
Hear what this patient has to say about Physical Therapy and Parkinson’s:
“When I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 4 years ago, I was told I had to give up golf. It was devastating after playing for 55 years. I could not get on the ladder any more, rake the leaves off the roof, do heavy yard work, or use the sewing machine. I had to give up washing the dishes by hand also. When I started at Physical Therapy in June of 2006 for an evaluation, I was using a walker. I didn’t believe the therapy would do me any good. By July, I was able to walk on the beach with my family, hit some balls at a driving range in August, and in September I raked some leaves. I recommend GNPs, doctors, and neurologists to refer people with Parkinson’s to Eugene Physical Therapy.”
First of all, like the above patient, a good family support system is a priority to help you practice at home. Even more important, though, is the desire that you want to try and change yourself, recognize the deficits you truly have and work on physically improve. If someone with PD does not really wish to change, but their family does, this unfortunately does not make this person a good candidate.
No. There are many cases of advanced PD where little to no change may be possible. Catching it early as possible, having good education as to what activities to practice that affect breathing, walking, coordination, strength, and balance are just a few important physical attributes that PD may have a negative affect on?
Our Physical Therapists with expertise in Vestibular Rehabilitation emphasize current evidence based approaches to treat the patient with Parkinson’s disease. In most cases, it is extremely beneficial to have a family member attend with the patient, to assist with the treatment program to be performed at home in an optimal fashion.
This support group was started 50+ years ago. Meets monthly at Campbell Senior Center, High St., Eugene, OR
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