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Is it ‘Helping,’ or Just ‘Busy Work’?

Posted Feb 25 2011 1:43pm

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Physical therapy (Round II) starts a week from today.  Sometimes I wonder if these treatments are actually supposed to be helping, or if they’re just “busy work” to keep me occupied while I continue to deteriorate.

I just had my sleep study a couple nights ago and I’m glad I did it.  I’ve wondered whether or not I have sleep apnea and it’s good to know that I don’t.

But Parkinson’s disease is a PROGRESSIVE disease .  If I could write a motto for the disease for newly-diagnosed folks to read, it would be this:

“It Is Going to Get Worse!”

So, I wonder what’s the benefit to be had by “ gait training ” and “balance work” in Parkinson’s disease.

Oh, don’t get me wrong.  I’m going and I’m looking forward to it.  But I had a round of PT last year.  They taught me tricks that I use to this day.  But I still wobble.  I still take tiny, shuffling steps unless I really concentrate and then when I take larger, longer steps I’m more likely to freeze in place.  My balance is terrible.  I still fall from time to time.

And, as far as I can tell from the literature on Parkinson’s disease that’s all pretty much “par for the course” for someone 11-years into this thing.

So… will the PT help in the long run?  Or is it just “busy work?”

I guess it’s all in how you look at it.

If you undergo a course of PT with PD and think that you’re going to come out of it walking straight and tall with a long, quick stride and your problems are over… you’re wasting your time.

If you go into it with the idea that the therapists KNOW what to expect in the course of your disease and their job is to give you the best tools to deal with your individual challenges, then it’s well worth the time and effort.

Because of PT, I know how to turn around without falling.  Because of PT, I can recognize when my center of gravity is beginning to tip to the point of no return.  Because of PT, I no longer have a painful, frozen left shoulder.

No telling what I’ll learn this time.

So, let me amend that motto I suggested earlier.

“It’s Going to Get Worse.  But There Will Be People to Help You.”

Take advantage of every trick, every tool, every weapon you can put into your arsenal to fight this thing.

Nobody’s gonna do it for you.

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