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.

Could Parkinson’s be affecting your speech and swallowing?

  • Do people ask you to repeat?
  • Does your voice sound hoarse, scratchy, or breathy?
  • Does your family say you speak too softly?
  • Do you clear your throat often?
  • Is your voice strong on same days, weak on others?
  • Do you cough when you eat or drink?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you might benefit from SPEAK OUT®!

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

STARS SPEAK Out!® Program

The Parkinson Voice Project created the Speak Out!® program, which is  offered through STARS. The Speak Out!® Program consists of a series of 12 therapy sessions. Together, the patient and the speech-language pathologist work their way through a series of speech, voice, and cognitive exercises outlined in a comprehensive workbook provided to every patient in the U.S. as a gift from the Parkinson Voice Project. The primary goals of SPEAK Out® are to strengthen the muscles used for speaking and swallowing and to teach patients how to speak with intent. After those sessions are completed, group sessions are attended twice a month to help maintain the skills they have learned.

You may be appropriate for the SPEAK OUT® therapy program if you can:

  • Tolerate 40 minute therapy sessions.
  • Follow simple commands.
  • Have the capability to complete daily home exercises independently OR have appropriate support system to assist.

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.