Parkinson’s Therapy

Parkinson's Disease (PD) affects many aspects of a person's life. The OHSU Rehabilitation team has numerous members who have gone through extensive training and work closely with the OHSU Parkinson Center of Oregon (PCO) to improve your function. The Comprehensive Neurological Rehabilitation Team (CNRT) is comprised of an occupational therapist (OT), physical therapist (PT) as well as a speech language pathologist (SLP).

When you are first diagnosed, you will be evaluated by the team, who will determine your baseline and design an individualized program to help you stay active with PD. We can also see you throughout the course of your disease, helping you problem solve any concerns or difficulties that you may have. Our therapists will collaborate with you to help you achieve your goals!

Therapy Services for People with Parkinson's Disease

Occupational Therapists (OT) help with:

  • Activities of daily living including eating, dressing, bathing
  • Remembering when to take pills
  • Getting out of bed or a tub, or off the toilet seat.
  • Vision problems
  • Falls in the home environment
  • Writing
  • Using cooking and feeding utensils
  • Computer adaptations

Physical Therapists (PT) help with:

  • Balance or falls
  • "Freezing:" taking small steps or having problems with turning
  • Problems with walking
  • Flexibility and strength
  • Exercise programs
  • Equipment to increase mobility and safety
  • Standing straight (improving your posture)
  • Pain management

Speech and Language Pathologists (SLP) help with:

  • Communication: Finding the right words, organizing your thoughts, etc…
  • Speech: being able to be understood by others
  • Loudness level of speaking
  • Swallowing safely and easily
  • Memory, attention, and speed of information processing, problem solving.

The goal of the Comprehensive Neurological Rehabilitation Team (CNRT) is to facilitate the patient's maintenance of the highest level of function possible with each stage of Parkinson's disease.

High Intensity Exercise For Parkinson's Disease

An alternate exercise paradigm is now available for persons with Parkinson's disease through the OHSU Rehabilitation Department. It is termed sensory motor agility training and is appropriate for individuals who are seeking an intensive exercise approach aimed at delaying PD symptoms.

This paradigm is designed for those who are able to commit to a more rigorous program. Physical therapy occurs three to four days a week for four weeks. This approach incorporates sensory motor training of tasks through complex and difficult movements which are goal directed and involve active problem solving.

The complexity and difficulty of tasks are thought to drive the nervous system to adapt.Treadmill training - with or without body weight support - is an alternate form of task practice which has proven to be beneficial for persons with PD in a number of scientific studies. The frequency is also three to four days a week.

These models of exercise for addressing Parkinson's disease symptoms have been under investigation by Fay Horak, Ph.D., and Laurie King, Ph.D. at the OHSU Parkinson Center of Oregon. For further information, please contact us:

OHSU Rehabilitation Department
Center for Health & Healing, 3rd floor
3303 SW Bond Avenue
Portland OR 97239
(503) 494-3171 scheduling
(503) 494-4360 fax