Parkinson’s disease is a debilitating condition that affects a patient’s ability to perform normal, everyday activities.
This disease can seriously impact how those affected live their life on a day-to-day basis, so there is a major need for appropriate treatment and rehabilitation.
Parkinson’s disease treatment and rehabilitation is an uneasy process that can involve various types of therapies – generally speaking, the most effective treatment and rehabilitation take place in specialized rehabilitation hospitals.
What Is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder.
A ‘movement disorder’ simply means that this condition causes unnatural and increased body movements in those afflicted with these disorders; the movement can be either voluntary or involuntary.
The range of symptom severity in movement disorders varies greatly – these movements can be very minimal or crippling.
This type of disorder doesn’t just mean ‘jerky’ or quick movement, but can also cause slow or reduced movements as well.
Besides Parkinson’s, other movement disorders include:
- Ataxia (this affects the cerebellum, and causes poor balance, speech, and limb movement).
- Dystonia (this causes muscle contractions and spasms, resulting in abnormal postures).
- Essential tremor (ET) (this is the most common movement disorder, causing rhythmic involuntary shaking).
- Lewy body dementia (this involves a decrease in the ability to think and reason).
- Multiple system atrophy (this is a rare disorder that causes movement disorders, such as ataxia).
There are many other movement disorders, all with varying levels of severity and effects.
Parkinson’s disease causes:
- Trouble walking
- Difficult with balancing
- Poor coordination
It is a brain disorder, one where symptoms generally get worse as time goes on.
Other possible symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include:
- Behavior changes
- Memory problems
- Sleep issues
Men have a greater risk of being affected by Parkinson’s, and most first cases of this disorder develop at around 60 years old.
Parkinson’s occurs when neurons die (or become impaired) in a part of the brain that controls movement.
When this happens, not only does the loss of motor functions happen but also the body stops producing norepinephrine, which controls certain automatic functions of the body; this can result in fatigue, digestive issues, blood pressure problems, etc.
How Can Parkinson’s Disease Be Treated?
Parkinson’s disease has no cure, yet there are medicines, treatments, and therapies that can help patients deal with symptoms.
The following types of medicines can be used for Parkinson’s:
- Drugs that increase dopamine levels.
- Drugs that work to control nonmotor symptoms.
- Drugs that change other brain chemicals.
Deep brain stimulation is a commonly-executed surgical procedure that implants electrodes into the brain – this can help stop symptoms of Parkinson’s such as tremors and rigidity.
There are also other types of Parkinson’s disease rehabilitation therapies to help patients treat symptoms.
Why Is Parkinson’s Disease Rehabilitation Necessary?
Parkinson’s can be incredibly damaging to the lives of those afflicted with this disorder – major functional losses can lead to a loss of independence, severely impacting how a patient lives their life on a day-to-day basis.
Physical therapy helps to improve both the motor and nonmotor functions of those with Parkinson’s disease, helping them live a better life and not succumb to the symptoms of this very serious movement disorder.
Types of Parkinson’s Disease Rehabilitation Therapy
There are three main types of Parkinson’s disease rehabilitation therapy. You can visit https://www.everestrehab.com/ to find out more.
They are as follows:
Physical Therapy for Parkinson’s
Not only is exercise beneficial for those afflicted with Parkinson’s disease, but physical therapy is even better since patients can get help with the right exercises to increase balance, strength, and mobility.
Physical therapy for Parkinson’s disease exercises that professionals use to help patients include:
- Amplitude training (this is a very popular way to help Parkinson’s patients – by performing exaggerated movements, the muscles are trained and many of the patient’s involuntary movements can be reduced).
- Balance work (Parkinson’s disease will often affect a patient’s balance, so balance work – such as practice walking – can help improve balance).
- Stretching (Parkinson’s can cause tightened muscles, so stretching is one way to combat general stiffness).
- Strength training (these exercises – such as working with a resistance band or weights – helps fight muscles that become weak with age, better equipping the patient to deal with Parkinson’s symptoms).
- Reciprocal patterns (this means left-to-right and side-to-side patterns, such as walking or swinging arms).
Physical therapy is offered by most of Parkinson’s disease rehabilitation facilities.
Parkinson’s Speech Therapy
Parkinson’s disease affects the face, throat, and mouth muscles that impact a patient’s ability to speak.
Therefore, Parkinson’s speech therapy can work to help combat change in voice, difficulty swallowing, slurred speech, mumbling, work retrieval, and other symptoms of this disorder.
Common speech therapy exercises include:
- Lee Silverman voice technique (LSVT) (this exercise has been proven to help patients with their speech – it involves a set of practices that patients repeat out loud regularly).
- Non-verbal communication (this helps patients with their ability to communicate without speaking – this reduces the impact of not being able to speak out loud properly).
Communication is an essential aspect of life that is damaged by this disorder and can be helped greatly by the use of proper Parkinson’s speech therapy.
Occupational Therapy Parkinson’s
Occupation therapists help patients with their ability to engage in the daily activities that they either want or need to do.
Occupational therapy for Parkinson’s patients allows them to continue with their lives even as the disease (and its symptoms) continue as well.
This type of Parkinson’s disease rehabilitation involves:
- Reducing the risk of falls.
- Helping patients learn to stand or transfer to wheelchairs, baths, bathrooms, etc.
- Teaching patients how to turn over in bed.
- Improving patients’ posture in various forms.
- Helping patients learn to eat and drink themselves.
- Learn self-care routines that are possible with their condition.
- Teaching patients how to manage fatigue.
- Showing patients how to handwrite.
- Helping patients learn how to complete domestic tasks, such as opening jars, cook, iron, etc.
Parkinson’s Disease Rehabilitation
There are many options for Parkinson’s disease rehabilitation facilities, yet a specialized rehabilitation hospital is the best option for patients.
Why Is a Specialized Rehabilitation Hospital Better for Treatment?
A specialized Parkinson’s disease rehabilitation hospital is much better for treatment than other options because it involves more personalized care – with inpatient rehab (as opposed to outpatient), patient care is available 24/7 and various types of medical professionals are there to assist with different types of problems that arise with a disease as serious as Parkinson’s.
A specialized Parkinson’s disease rehabilitation hospital typically offers the following types of therapies:
- Physical therapy
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Diet therapy
- Herbal medicine
- Massage therapy
- Meditation (relaxation therapy)
- And many more.
Every Parkinson’s disease rehabilitation facility is different – be sure to ask questions and perform intensive research to find the best one for your patient.