Rehabilitative Therapies

Key Facts

  • Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy are important to improving quality of life of Parkinson’s patients.
  • Physical therapy technique called LSVT-BIG and voice technique LSVT-LOUD have proven to be beneficial in Parkinson’s patients.

Clinical Best Practices

  • Early referral to allied health specialists can help to maintain functionality and assist in planning for future needs.

Most PD patients will benefit from rehabilitative therapy at some point, depending on their individual needs. The need for therapy does not necessarily correspond with the stage of PD.

  • Remember that physical therapy is not the same as exercise; therefore, it is important to recommend exercise and refer your patient to a physical therapist.
  • There is evidence that a physical therapy technique (LSVT-BIG) focusing on amplitude of movements to move faster can provide motor benefits in PD above and beyond a walking program or self-directed home exercise program.
  • The Lee Silverman Voice Technique (LSVT-LOUD) has proven that it can improve vocal volume in PD
  • Occupational therapy certainly is beneficial.
  • Most people with PD will experience changes in speech, voice, and swallowing at some point during the course of the disease; therefore, a speech therapy program may be helpful early in the disease.
  • Incorporation of the Nintendo Wii ®or other movement-dependent game (X-Box®, Kinect®) into an exercise regimen can improve mood and functional mobility.
  • Evidence suggests that benefits continue only if the patient continues therapy or is motivated to exercise on their own.
References: 

Ebersbach G, Ebersbach A, Edler D, et al.  Comparing exercise in Parkinson’s disease—the LSVT®BIG study.  Mov Disord 2010; 25: 1902-1908.