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Neuro Week: Movement Disorders

Movement disorders refer to a group of neurologic disorders that affect the way a person moves, like Parkinson’s Disease or Multiple Sclerosis. Over time, patients may have difficulty performing everyday tasks like getting dressed, speaking or swallowing. At Cone Health Outpatient Neurorehabilitation, therapists work with patients to develop an exercise routine that helps them overcome deficiencies caused by the disease.

Research has shown that increased intensity, duration and frequency of activity/exercise can significantly improve function and mobility for Parkinson’s disease patients. “Skill acquisition exercises” are another form of exercise that are particularly beneficial to Parkinson’s disease patients. They are specifically geared to help them improve their function in certain skills and/or activities that have become difficult for them because of the disease. Physical therapy focuses on posture, balance, walking and teaching patients proper, safe exercises. Occupational therapy focuses on helping patients with their upper body strength, fine motor skills, and activities of daily living such as bathing and dressing. Because many Parkinson’s disease patients begin to lose the volume of their voice, speech therapy focuses on helping patients talk louder and be better understood.

Before starting an exercise program, it’s important to talk with a physical therapist who specializes in patients with Parkinson’s so they can individualize the exercises to the needs of the patient. The earlier in the diagnosis process that patients begin an exercise plan, the better. Cone Health’s Neurorehabilitation Center takes a team approach to treating and helping patients manage their Parkinson’s disease, with a dedicated team of physical, occupational and speech therapists.

Spokesperson Background:

Amy Marriott is a physical therapist at Cone Health Neurorehabilitation Center. Certified in LSVT BIG (a protocol developed specifically to address the unique movement impairments for people with Parkinson’s disease) and Parkinson’s Wellness Recovery (PWR!) techniques, Marriott specializes in treating Parkinson’s disease patients. In March 2014, she completed Allied Team Training through the National Parkinson Foundation. Marriott earned a Master of Physical Therapy from East Carolina University in 2000.