Parkinson's disease treatment at Rehab Solutions Physical Therapy in Gillette Wyoming

Many people have likely heard of Parkinson’s disease. People such as Muhammed Ali and Michael J. Fox have helped to shed a much needed light on Parkinson’s disease and its progression, but even so, many people still have questions about what it is. Therefore, in this post, we are going to dive into the diagnosis of Parkinson’s and talk about what it is, signs and symptoms, and some of the treatment options available, with an emphasis on physical therapy.

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease that affects movement of the body. The mechanism by which this occurs is a breakdown of neurons in the brain. Specifically, neurons that produce dopamine, a chemical messenger that plays a role in motor control. When dopamine levels decrease, this can lead to movement impairment. It is unclear what causes Parkinson’s disease, however, several risk factors exist. They include age over 60, family history of Parkinson’s, and long term exposure to certain toxins such as herbicides or pesticides. Men are also more likely to develop Parkinson’s than women.

Parkinson’s disease is often characterized by a tremor, a shaking of a limb. Sometimes, a person will rub their thumb and forefinger together, in what is called a pill rolling tremor. Parkinson’s disease also presents with movement difficulties. This is most commonly smaller, slower, or more rigid movements. This can present in a variety of ways, such as less swing in arms or shorter step length when walking, and little to no expression in face. Speech difficulties with softer slurred speech are also common, as is balance impairments and fatigue. In some cases, pain can be present. In addition to physical limitations, other complications can also arise with Parkinson’s disease. Thinking problems, depression, sleep disturbances, chewing and swallowing issues, loss of smell, and bladder/bowel dysfunction can occur.

Although Parkinson’s disease can not be cured, a multitude of treatment options are available. Pharmacological interventions involve drugs that increase the amount of Dopamine in the body, which in turn can improve movement quality. Another medical option is a surgery to implant a deep brain stimulator. This functions by sending electrical signals to the brain to reduce Parkinson’s symptoms. This is useful for people with Parkinson’s who have unstable medical responses, or are in the later stages of Parkinson’s disease progression.

Another beneficial and important treatment option for Parkinson’s disease is physical therapy. The role of physical therapy can help in treating the symptoms of Parkinson’s as well as slowing the progression. This involves retraining the brain and body to produce larger amplitude movements more consistently, posture training, core stabilization, music therapy, tandem bicycling, and forced aerobic exercise.

Hopefully, this helps to further understanding of Parkinson’s disease, the way it manifests, and some of the treatment options that exist to slow it down.

—Colin Fulton, PTA

Gillette Office

Fax: 307.686.9484

1103 E. Boxelder Rd. Suite U
Gillette, WY 82718

7am – 6pm
Monday – Thursday
7am – 5pm Friday
Or by appointment

Sundance Office

Fax: 307.696.2895

220 East Main Street,
Sundance, Wyoming 82729

7am – 5pm
Monday – Thursday

7am – 12pm Friday
Or by appointment

Newcastle Office

Fax: 307.696.2896

219 West Main Street
Newcastle, Wyoming 82701

7am – 6pm
Monday – Thursday
8am – 12pm Friday
Or by appointment

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