Physical therapists work with patients with Parkinson’s disease in order to improve range of motion, exercise tolerance or endurance, and overall motor function. It is especially helpful to improve axial or midline motor function such as difficulties with gait (including freezing of gate), arising from a chair, poor posture, and reduction in balance. In addition to working with a physical therapist, patients benefit from following an ongoing home exercise program incorporating the suggestions made by the physical therapist in order to obtain maximal benefit.

Occupational therapists work with patients to maintain the quality of life by suggesting adaptive devices or other methods to overcome physical limitations. Most of the adaptive devices focus on tools which may help compensate for reduced dexterity such as specialized utensils for eating. Home safety evaluations can also be helpful in reducing environmental dangers such as reduction of falls by removing obstacles in walkways in the home, adding railings, and adding assistive bars in baths.

Speech therapy using the Lee Silverman Voice Technique, or LSVT, has been shown to improve hypophonia or low speech volume in patients with Parkinson’s disease. In the past few years, this LSVT program has been combined with a physical therapy program called the BIG Program in order to combine loud speech with large-scale or explosive gestures or movements. The combination can be quite helpful with increased carry-through to day-to-day living. Expiratory muscle strength training, or EMST, involves patients breathing against resistance in order to strengthen swallowing muscles in order to reduce trouble with eating and drinking. Recently, injections of the vocal cords with synthetic collagen-like materials have shown promise in improving voice volume when speech therapy has not been helpful enough.