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Topic Physical therapy/swallow test Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By hubb On 2010.02.03 21:33
After seeing neurologist and then family doctor, my PD spouse was referred to physical therapy and for a swallow test. What kind of experiences have any of you had with this? Family dr. said that when they can't do anything new for a PD patient, they then start on the therapies. We know that PD cannot be cured but just wondered if these tests would create more problems than they solve. I, personally, would like to talk to a physical therapist to see if there are any recommendations on how to get him out of a chair and into a standing position without hurting my back and leg, or when he gets down on the floor to do exercises, sometimes we have a heck of a time getting him back up again. We have a lift chair which does help some, and sometimes. Sometimes, he can get up without help and other times, it's just dead weight and he can't help any. Usually late afternoon or evening when he just runs out of steam. I wondered what anyone else has experienced with these tests.

By nan2 On 2010.02.03 23:03
I can only speak to the swallow test. It is some kind of x-ray. The result was that, yes, she is danger of aspirating and aspiration pneumonia. We were given strong advice to puree food and use a thickener in liquids. We were told that even rice or cooked raisins in oatmeal are dangerous. Frankly, after weeks of trying we have become rather non-compliant. Pureed soups became kind of grainy and not that much easier to swallow, in my opinion. We added Thick-it to juice and coffee. eww. We are doing OK with a diet that is soft and easily chewed. Take your time and concentrate on eating, not conversation, at mealtime. There are no compaints about things like milkshakes, eggs, cooked fruit, soups, pasta, puddings, cooked vegetables, mashed potatos, cheese and so forth. We avoid nuts, crunchy crackers and chips and hunks of meat.
Let us know the results of the swallow test and what advice you receive.

By annwood On 2010.02.03 23:15
The swallowing test is simple and not painful. Usually they have a speech therapist there for the assessment phase. The purpose of the test is to determine whether or not someone is aspirating when they swallow liquids. This is a common problem for PD pts.

Tricks I learned for working with my husband. First make sure that he is not sitting in a an overstuffed chair that allows him to sink in - that make it much more difficult to get him up. If he sits in a particular chair see about getting handrails installed on the wall and place the chair next to the wall. These are available at medical supply stores and a handyman can install them. I had them everywhere. The most valuable piece of equipment I had was one of those footstools you use in the kitchen where pressure keeps it from moving. When my husband would fall on the floor I would place the stool by him and we would get him up in stages. First lie on his side then roll over and get to his knees, then put his hand on the stool and slowly stand with my assistance. I could never have gotten him up by myself without the stool. If he was unable to get out of a chair I would place the stool in front of the chair and I would kneel on the floor leaning on the stool with my back to him. He would grab my shoulders and I would begin to stand with my back to him using my legs not my back. We also had a bed rail on the side of our bed which helped him get in or out of bed. These were my tricks and I am sure others on this board will have there's to contribute.

Hope this helps.

By LOHENGR1N On 2010.02.04 00:25
Parkinson's disease effects all systems of our bodies. Plain and simple! As time goes by it's effects become more pronounced. The problem with swallowing is in our throat there is a flap that is supposed to automatically close off our lungs when we swallow. With P.D. in time these signals become interrupted so the flap doesn't function properly. The result is food and liquid going down the wrong pipe or into our lungs.

As for the physical therapy, I can't express the importance of doing exercises when the Anti-Parkinson's medication is working at it's best. At end or between dosages when it is not working or working poorly it will appear that We have run out of steam or are having weakness. This is the same circumstance that makes it difficult to turn over in bed. Not due to weakness of back, arms or legs but because of lower levels of dopamine. Physical therapy as a field is catching up in knowledge of effects of Parkinson's Disease and movement. Not many years ago the field would stand and scratch their heads at the difference in Patients from day to day or between morning and afternoon sessions. Through sitting down and discussing with patients this difference was found to be timing of dosages of Sinemet and the scheduled therapy. It takes the patients and caregivers observations to advocate these changes, the therapist doesn't know about our medications and their effects. If resistance is shown by a therapist try suggesting they schedule an appointment for a good "on" time then one for a "off" time or time when the next dosage is due, then note the difference. It will help you and also others with Parkinson's when they visit therapy. Take care, best of luck and hang in there

By susger8 On 2010.02.04 11:49
You might also explore occupational therapy, which in my experience is more useful for finding ways to adapt to the physical difficulties of PD.


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