Parkinson's Disease Treatment Program

What is Parkinson's disease?

Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological disorder that primarily affects movement, leading to symptoms such as tremors, stiffness and slowing of movement. Some of the first noticeable symptoms of Parkinson's disease are voice and speech changes. As the disease progresses, it can also impact cognitive function and emotional health.

Individuals over the age of 60 are at the highest risk for developing Parkinson's disease, though it can occur in younger adults. Risk factors include a family history of the disease, exposure to certain environmental toxins and gender, with men being slightly more likely to develop Parkinson's than women.

Symptoms of Parkinson's disease

  • Decline in balance
  • Decrease in fine motor skills, like handwriting or using buttons and zippers
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Freezing or inability to move
  • Inability to project voice
  • Low endurance
  • Rigidity or stiffness
  • Slow walking
  • Small or shuffling steps
  • Weakness

As these symptoms can significantly impact daily life, identifying them early is crucial to managing the disease effectively through tailored treatment for Parkinson's.

Who can benefit from Parkinson's disease therapy

Parkinson's disease patients can benefit from specialized therapies that improve their quality of life. Therapies such as physical, occupational and speech and language pathology can improve motor symptoms like tremors, rigidity and slowness of movement. These therapies also help maintain flexibility, balance and coordination for daily activities. Non-motor symptoms like sleep disturbances, depression and cognitive changes can also be addressed through tailored therapeutic strategies, improving emotional well-being and cognitive function.

Additionally, family members and caregivers of individuals with Parkinson's disease can benefit from therapies as they can gain valuable insights and strategies to provide effective support. Parkinson's disease therapy and support groups offer a comprehensive approach that not only benefits those directly affected by the disease but also extends support to those around them, fostering a network of care and understanding.

Parkinson's disease diagnosis and treatment options

Diagnosing Parkinson's disease involves a careful examination of medical history, a review of symptoms and sometimes specialized tests to rule out other conditions. While there is no single test for Parkinson's disease, your care team will use a combination of diagnostic methods to accurately identify the disease and tailor a personalized, comprehensive treatment plan.

At Bryn Mawr Rehab, we take a creative approach to Parkinson’s disease treatment that can include speech, occupational and physical therapies, which may include:

  • Aquatic therapy
  • Assistive technology services
  • Diet-safety education
  • Driver rehab
  • Dynavision light training board for visual motor training
  • Exercises to enhance reading speed and reaction time
  • Exercises to improve dressing skills, eating and drinking
  • Neuropsychological services
  • Strength, flexibility and balance-improvement training
  • Therapeutic yoga
  • Therapies to improve speech clarity, tone and volume
  • Training to increase walking speed and ease of movement

Bryn Mawr Rehab’s physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy teams offer specialized training and experience in rehabilitation services for patients with Parkinson’s disease and are certified in LSVT BIG® and LSVT LOUD®. Our patients further benefit from technology-assisted therapy for Parkinson's disease such as the Bioness Vector, Lokomat® Pro, Lite Gait and/or Balance Master.

Parkinson's disease support groups

Parkinson support group

The focus of the group is to enhance quality of life through education, symptom management, and strategies for support and coping. Meetings are facilitated by Main Line Health clinicians and staff.

The Parkinson’s disease support group has resumed in-person meetings at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital on the third Tuesday of each month. For information about joining the Parkinson’s support group meetings, call 484.596.5725 or email [email protected].

Family support of therapy for Parkinson's disease

For caregivers and family members, it's important to be involved in a Parkinson patient's treatment. Family involvement ensures that even when patients are at home, they can have someone to depend on who understands their challenges and is willing to help monitor and encourage their daily exercises.

Related specialties

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy and sensory integration helps patients who’ve experienced a debilitative injury or illness return to activities of daily living (ADL), such as dressing, eating, writing, shopping, toileting and driving.

Parkinson's Disease Treatment Program

The frustrating effects of Parkinson Disease can take a toll on a patient’s abilities and self-image. However, a customized therapy plan can help Parkinson patients make significant gains.

Physical Therapy

Each inpatient and outpatient physical therapy rehab is individually designed and administered by a licensed physical therapist who consistently guides you from that first visit all the way through recovery.

Assistive Technology Services

Disability and assistive technology combines technological invention with modern medicine, helping people with physical and cognitive disabilities acquire and use devices that help improve mobility and independence.

Bryn Mawr Rehab Psychology

At Main Line Health, we provide psychological treatment services for improved adjustment and maximum recovery associated with a wide range of neurological, medical and psychological disorders.

Orthopaedic Rehabilitation

As one of the most extensive programs at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital, our primary focus is to help patients build strength, mobility and endurance for a variety of orthopaedic conditions.

Brain Injury Rehab

Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital was one of the first facilities in the country to offer traumatic and nontraumatic inpatient brain injury rehab as well as outpatient brain injury rehab and has remained one of the best rehabilitation hospitals for brain injury treatment in the Philadelphia region for more than 30 years.

Hand Therapy

A hand therapy specialist is well-versed in a variety of methods and works to develop a personalized regimen for the unique needs of every patient. Our patients come from all walks of life—from young athletes to long-term arthritis sufferers to accidental burn victims.

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