By: Samantha Crisafulli, PT, DPT, Cert. DN
Parkinson's Disease (PD) is defined as "A chronic and progressive movement disorder that initially causes a tremor in one hand, stiffness or slowing of movement." Symptoms include, but are not limited to, tremors, trembling of hands, arms, legs, jaw and face, stiffness of the arms, legs and trunk, slowness of movement, poor balance and coordination and speech difficulties. Unfortunately, with PD, there is no real known cause of the disease and there is no cure at this moment. However, medications can help control symptoms and physical/occupational therapy have been shown to help significantly with balance/mobility problems and daily activities such as eating, reading and dressing, respectively.
Physical therapists can help patients with PD at all stages. Research has shown that exercise is extremely beneficial to people with PD. Therefore, it is crucial to see a physical therapist in the initial stages of the disease to limit the movement impairments and decrease the risk for future falls and gait abnormalities.
Since each patient with PD presents differently, a physical therapist will create a unique exercise program that targets specific impairments. A physical therapist can provide ways to maintain safety, education, exercise routines and help with normal physical activity routine, walking, balance/stability, posture, pain, and transfers (getting up and down from a chair, moving in the bed, getting in/out of a car, etc.)
With a referral from your doctor or a neurologist, a physical therapist will perform a musculoskeletal and neurological exam that includes assessment of posture, joint alignment and tests of muscular strength, flexibility and nerve involvement. It may also include soft tissue mobilization or other manual techniques, such as dry needling, to increase blood flow to a region where pain is experienced. This will allow the patient to increase their independence with activities of daily living and do it pain-free.
At Professional Rehabilitation Services, we treat a wide variety of musculoskeletal and neurological conditions using the latest in evidence-based therapies provided by highly credentialed physical therapists. Professional Rehabilitation Services has eight convenient locations in Pawleys Island, Murrells Inlet, Surfside Beach, Market Common, Myrtle Beach, Carolina Forest, Conway, Little River and Longs.
For further information on this or other related topics you can contact Richard DeFalco, DPT, OCS, CSCS, CWcHP at Professional Rehabilitation Services (Myrtle Beach) (843) 839-1300, Brian P. Kinmartin PT, DPT, MTC, STC, OCS, CWcHP (Pawleys Island) (843) 235-0200, Richard A. Owens, MPT, OCS, Cert. SMT, CWcHP (Surfside) (843) 831-0163, Jill P. Phelan, PT, DPT, Cert. DN (Conway) (843) 773-3031, Lisa O'Brien, PT, DPT, Cert. DN (Murrells Inlet) (843) 314-3224, Karl Ehlers, PT, DPT, Cert. DN (Little River) (843) 281-4222, Samantha Crisafulli PT, DPT (Carolina Forest) (843) 282-0440, Zach Daniels PT, DPT (Market Commons) (843) 213-6338, Brandon Stanley(Longs) (843) 491-0388 or visit our website at www.prsrehabservices.com where you can learn more about the company and even download a referral form for your physician to fill out. You can also call and schedule a free 15-minute consultation.