Why Medication is NOT the Only Option for Improving Parkinson’s Symptoms

If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) it can be a very overwhelming experience.  Many people go through a series of grief and/or depression due to the new diagnosis. Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological disease and currently there is no cure. Scientist and researchers, including the Michael J Fox Foundation, have dedicated their lives to finding a cure.   

If there is no cure, then it makes sense to become depressed and hopeless…right?   

WRONG! 

Many people with Parkinson’s can live a very fulfilling life and you may be surprised you have more control than you think over your PD Symptoms. In most cases the first line of defense is medications. Usually a medication that contains dopamine is used and can be very helpful in improving tremors, shuffling steps, and balance.   

However, are medications your only option to control you PD symptoms? 

If you have been following my content and reading my articles you are probably aware that I am a big believer in exercises. In fact, I often refer to exercises as the closest thing we have to a miracle drug.  

Exercise is an important part of healthy living for everyone. For people with Parkinson’s disease (PD), exercise is more than healthy — it is a vital component to maintaining balance, mobility, and activities of daily living. Exercise and physical activity can improve many PD symptoms. These benefits are supported overwhelmingly by research. 

The Parkinson’s Outcomes Project shows that people with PD who start exercising earlier and a minimum of 2.5 hours a week experience a slowed decline in quality of life compared to those who start later. Establishing early exercise habits is essential to overall disease management. 

Traditionally people were told there is nothing you can do about your Parkinson’s because it is a progressive disease without a cure. They would tell clients you can take your medications but overtime the medications will be less effective and there is nothing else you can do. Being a physical therapist, over my career, I often heard from doctors and other healthcare practitioners “they have Parkinson’s, why do they need physical therapy, there isn’t anything you can do.”

Luckily, the research is becoming more widespread and it’s well known now that exercise can help improve PD symptoms and slow down the progression of symptoms over time. 

However, exercise is a very broad term and in all of these studies it seems like everyone is doing a different type of exercise like the following: 

  • Tai Chi  
  • Dancing for Parkinson’s  
  • Cycling  
  • Boxing (413 Fitness, Rocksteady)
  • LSVT BIG Program
  • PWR! Program
  • Nordic Walking

Determining where to start can be very overwhelming. Generally speaking, any exercise is better than no exercises however figuring out the best plan can be confusing. This is why we always recommend starting with a physical therapy evaluation in order to determine the best plan of attack. Physical therapy is not the only option and in fact we often recommend many other programs in addition to physical therapy as lifetime changes in exercises habits is what really will make the biggest difference in maintaining quality of life.  

Here at Natural Fit Therapy we have Parkinson’s certified therapists and offer the LSVT BIG program.  LSVT BIG program is an intensive program developed and carried out by physical therapists specifically for people with Parkinson’s. Usually we start people on a custom program and then when ready we will start the LSVT BIG program. Once finished with the LSVT Program we will recommend and help develop a plan of attack for your future exercises. We realize that the LSVT program is not the only program available, but we are committed to determining the best plan for you even if that isn’t working with our therapist.  

If you know you should be exercising more but aren’t sure where to start, try to avoid getting overwhelmed.  We offer free Discovery Visit Consultations where you can meet with one of our Parkinson’s specialist physical therapist and learn more about how we might be able to help free of charge! We can determine if our program or LSVT BIG program is the right fit for you and we can make recommendations on where to start on your exercise program even if you decide not to work with us. 

To Schedule your free discovery visit please call (512) 730-0231 or visit us at https://naturalfittherapy.com/free-taster/

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