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Why Physical Therapy Can Be One of Your Most Powerful Treatment Options for Parkinson's

Physical Therapists can be helpful at any stage of Parkinson's to assist with movement impairments and disorders. There are many Physical Therapists that specialize in Parkinson's and other neurological conditions to help you identify and minimize movement disorders.

​Your physician can provide a recommendation or referral to a physical therapist, and sessions are generally covered under most insurance. In the past, Medicare has limited the amount of physical, occupational, and speech therapy a person can receive each year. In some years, there are exceptions made if services are deemed medically necessary, such as a fall or injury resulting in the need for more therapy. In 2018, a federal law for Medicare was made available that will no longer deny therapy to those who need it to manage their health conditions, such as Parkinson's.

​Physical Therapists usually work at hospitals, outpatient departments, home health agencies, nursing homes or within community programs.

​Once you have been referred, your Physical Therapist will then provide an evaluation or assessment to identify your Physical Therapy Baseline. From there, routine evaluations and exercises can be crafted based on your unique and individual needs. All in all, physical therapists can make you aware of how to exercise most effectively and safely. Most importantly, doing the exercises they suggest at home can contribute to the greatest success.

​In general, Physical Therapists provide:

  • Education and self-management advice

  • Exercise routines that have been associated with improvements in mobility, quality of life, and disease severity

  • Answers to questions about the type, intensity, frequency, or duration of exercise that is best for you

  • Ways to maintain safety when exercising

  • Help with:

  • Normal physical activity routines​

  • Walking: slowness, small steps, or freezing (feeling glued to the floor or difficulty getting started

  • Balance or stability

  • Posture

  • Pain

  • Moving around the house (getting up from a chair, moving around in bed)

  • Getting around (in/out of a car or bus, elevators, stairs, and uneven ground)

  • Address fear of falling, have fallen or are worried about your safety

  • Other health problems that affect mobility, including joint or muscle pain from arthritis, problems with endurance due to a heart or lung condition, a broken bone or surgery

​When working with your physical therapist, it is important to set individualized movement goals. Your Physical Therapist can help you build your exercise routine based on the latest research or help you to re-learn challenging tasks for staying safe and independent in the home.


LSVT BIG trains people with Parkinson disease (PD) to use their body more normally. If you are living with PD or other neurological conditions you may notice you often move differently, with gestures and actions that become smaller and slower. You may have trouble with getting around, getting dressed, and with other activities of daily living. LSVT BIG effectively trains improved movements for any activity, whether "small motor" tasks like buttoning a shirt or "large motor" tasks like getting up from a sofa or chair and maintaining balance while walking. The treatment improves walking, self-care, and other tasks by helping you "recalibrate" how you perceive your movements with what others see. It also teaches you how and when to apply extra effort to produce bigger motions - more like the movements of everyone around you.

​Because LSVT BIG treatment is customized to each person's specific needs and goals, it can help regardless of the stage or severity of your condition. That said, the treatment may be most effective in the early or middle stages of your condition, when you can both improve function and potentially slow further symptom progression. Beginning your work with LSVT BIG before you've noticed significant problems with balance, mobility, or posture will often lead to the best results, but it's never too late to start. LSVT BIG can produce significant improvements even for people facing considerable physical difficulties.

​Your physician or neurologist can refer you to a LSVT BIG Therapist. Insurance will generally cover these sessions. You can learn more about LSVT BIG by going to their website at:

To see a listing of LSVT BIG Physical Therapists in Alabama, go to:


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