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Other Treatments for Parkinson's Disease

There are several other therapies that may help improve quality of life.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can help you manage the physical symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Physical therapists can teach you exercises to do on your own, or you can attend regular physical therapy sessions.

Physical therapy can help you:

  • Increase your strength
  • Decrease rigidity
  • Develop flexibility
  • Improve your stamina
  • Optimize coordination
  • Learn about fall prevention
  • Delay progression of disease

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy can help with fine motor skills and writing. The skills learned in occupational therapy can help with skills needed to maintain daily life. It involves relearning or modifying tasks. In addition, modifications to the living environment can assist in enhancing mobility, independence and safety.

Cognitive Training

Cognitive training works on aspects of the brain that control certain functions so they can be performed better in daily life. Activities are meant to promote and increase brain fitness through learning or exercises. It works best in conjunction with other healthy lifestyle habits. Some people with Parkinson's disease have seen improvements in reasoning, problem solving, processing speed, and working memory.

Other Therapies

Alternative therapies, such as Tai Chi, yoga, and dance therapy have been shown to improve postural stability and balance, which can help prevent falls.

Movement strategy training has been demonstrated in small studies to improve quality of life, walking, balance and overall function, but requires persistent and continuous application in order to maintain benefit.

Speech therapy has been suggested as a method to assist in improving hypophonia, and studies have demonstrated improvement over several years, provided treatment remains ongoing.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
  • Review Date: 11/2016 -
  • Update Date: 10/17/2016 -
  • Alonso-Frech F, Sanahuja JJ, Rodriguez AM. Exercise and physical therapy in early management of Parkinson disease. Neurologist. 2011;17(6 Suppl 1):S47-S53.

  • Complementary therapies. Parkinson’s Disease Foundation website. Available at: http://www.pdf.org/en/comp%5Ftherapies. Accessed November 29, 2016.

  • Li F, Harmer P, Fitzgerald K, et al. Tai chi and postural stability in patients with Parkinsons disease. N Engl J Med. 2012;366(6):511-519.

  • Parkinson disease. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115172/Parkinson-disease. Updated November 14, 2016. Accessed November 29, 2016.

  • 11/10/2015 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115172/Parkinson-disease: Shanahan J, Morries ME, Bhriain ON, Saunders J, Clifford AM. Dance for people with Parkinson disease: what is the evidence telling us? Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2015;96(1):141-153.

  • 2/23/2016 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115172/Parkinson-disease: Leung IH, Walton CC, Hallock H, et al. Cognitive training in Parkinson disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Neurology. 2015;85(21):1843-1851.

  • 10/17/2016 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115172/Parkinson-disease: Ni M Signorile JF, et al. Comparitive effect of power training and high-speed yoga on motor function in older patients with Parkinson disease. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2016;97(3):345-354.