PT, OT, and Speech Therapy
Physical and occupational therapy can have tremendous benefits for people with Parkinson’s. Oftentimes, people aren’t aware that physical and occupational therapy can help. They assume those therapies are for people recovering from a major illness or injury. Other times, people wait to seek this treatment until there is a problem, like a fall. Below is a partial list of those benefits one may see through therapy.
Physical therapy can help a person with Parkinson’s improve:
- Balance issues
- Risk of falling
- Coordination and movement
- Strength and flexibility
Occupational therapy can help one complete daily task with more ease by demonstrating or sharing:
- Easier ways to get in and out of bed, a chair, the shower or the toilet
- The proper way to use assistive devices like canes and walkers
- Tips for home modification and safety
- Adaptations for cooking and cleaning
- Ways to modify your home office or workspace
Prescriptions from your doctor are generally required if you would like these therapies covered by your insurance. If you have questions or think physical or occupational therapy may help you, ask your doctor.
Changes in speech are not talked about as symptoms of Parkinson’s as much as tremor or rigidity; however, more than 75 percent of people experience these changes. The rigidity and slow, limited movement you may see when you walk or get up from a chair can also affect your vocal cords, lips, tongue, throat, and diaphragm.
Some of the changes in speech include:
- A soft, hoarse or breathy voice
- Mumbled or fast speech
- Monotone pitch
- Loss of facial expression
- Trouble swallowing
Speech therapy is a great way to combat these changes, even before they occur. There is a speech therapy program called Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) that was designed specifically for people with Parkinson’s. Research has shown that this intensive program can improve speech. Talk to your doctor about LSVT, or other speech therapies, to see if it’s right for you.