Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson’s Disease is a neurological disorder that progressively affects movement in the body. Daily functional tasks such as,  walking, swallowing and turning over in bed, can be hindered by Parkinson’s Disease. Physical, Speech and Occupational Therapies can help reduce the disability brought on by Parkinson’s.

How can a Physical Therapist help?

  • Educate patients on strategies for maintaining musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems to keep the patient in optimal condition for preventing falls
  • Strengthen patients for functional tasks like: Walking, Turning over in bed, and Manipulating objects
  • Provide a Home Exercise Program

Exercise Tips from a Physical Therapist

  • Always Warm up at the beginning and cool down at the end
  • Workout in a safe environment
  • Exercise your facial muscles (Sing, Read Aloud, Make Faces in the Mirror)
  • Try water exercise, such as water aerobics or swimming laps (these workouts are often easier on the joints and require less balance)
  • If at any time you feel sick or you begin to hurt, stop
  • Select a hobby you enjoy that is safe and stick with it
  • Plan exercise times around when medication is working at its best

How can a Speech Therapist help?

A Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) will evaluate and treat problems with:

  • Swallowing: Trouble coughing or choking when eating or drinking
  • Speaking: “Slurred” speech, voice problems including hoarseness and loss of voice
  • Cognition: “Thinking skills” such as attention, memory, and problem solving
  • Language: Trouble thinking of the words you need in conversation, trouble writing, and/or difficulty understanding what you hear or read
  • Voice: Hoarseness, loss of voice or soft/weak voice
  • Breathing difficulties and chronic cough or throat-clearing

Lee Silverman Voice Treatment Program

Difficulty speaking and difficulty swallowing are both severely limiting symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. Speech therapy can help these conditions. The Lee Silverman Voice Treatment Program (LVST) has been of great value for patients with Parkinson’s Disease. What is the LVST Program? The LVST program is a series of 1 hour sessions, four times a week for four consecutive weeks, totaling 16 sessions. Along with the in person clinic sessions with the Speech Therapist, the patient will have a daily home exercise program. The goal of the program is to strengthen and louden the voice of the patient and allow them to speak in a healthy and comfortable fashion.

STARS SPEAK Out!® Program

The Parkinson Voice Project created the Speak Out!® program, which is now offered through STARS. The Speak Out!® Program consists of a series of 12 therapy sessions with the speech therapist focused on teaching the patient to speak with intent. After those sessions are completed, group sessions are attended twice a month to help maintain the skills they have learned.

How can an Occupational Therapist help?

Individuals staying active in their everyday lives is a key to being healthy. An Occupational Therapist can help individuals do that by showing them different ways to complete tasks, or introducing them to adaptive equipment. An Occupational Therapist can help teach patients how to perform everyday activities with greater ease and satisfaction, giving them a sense of independence. To help keep patients independent an Occupational Therapist may also recommend changes to a home or workplace.

Physical Therapy, Speech Therapy, and Occupational Therapy, can all assist in helping individuals have a healthy and independent quality of life. If you would like to learn more about Parkinson’s Disease, please follow this link for more information about the 2019 Hope Conference® Boise  held at Saint Alphonsus Medical Center on March 2nd, 2019.