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What would you do if you were diagnosed with Parkinson's?

Updated: Jul 11, 2022

As a Parkinson’s (PD) Exercise specialist, I am often asked by my patients, “ What would you do if you were diagnosed with Parkinson’s?” I have to tell you….I LOVE this question! I love to answer this question because there are so many actions someone newly diagnosed with PD can take to live well with Parkinson’s. I love this question so much; even if you don’t ask, I will give you the answers on our first visit! As they leave our initial session, people often tell me they have a sense of optimism and hope instead of doom and gloom. Something is empowering about knowing that even though we can’t yet cure Parkinson’s, we can take actions to make the symptoms less of an impact. I love to share this knowledge with my patients! So here is my “What would you do?” list…

1. Take action right away by consulting with a specialist.

A neurologist and a physical therapist that specializes in working with Parkinson’s is your first course of action. Please don’t just pick up the phone and call the guy who did your knee replacement therapy! Look for someone who specializes in your condition!

2. Don’t gloss over the less talked about nonmotor symptoms.

PD-related depression, apathy, and anxiety are very real. Talk about these symptoms with your doctor and family openly. There is a definitive correlation between exacerbation of physical symptoms and stress. The more you can handle your mental state, the fewer physical symptoms you will experience. Sometimes this requires some help, so

don’t hesitate to ask!

3. Exercise every single day.

It’s been proven to relieve symptoms, and some research shows PD-specific exercise can even slow the progression of the disease. This is where your Parkinson’s physical therapist can help! Get an evaluation and have the therapist prescribe your exercise plan. There are

tons of options for effective programs!

4. Join a support group.

Many support groups are meeting every month in Rochester. There is also a lot of support found in PD-specific exercise classes. Sometimes it helps to talk with others in the same boat! Don’t forget your spouse may need support too. Encourage your spouse to join a caregivers’ support group.

So here is my list! If you are already doing these things, keep going! If you need some help getting started; please email me..

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