Therapy – About PT/OT/ST

Physical, Occupational, Speech

When people talk about therapy for Parkinson’s they often refer to the LSVT BIG and LOUD programs, but there are many other ways that therapists specially trained in Parkinson’s can help.

Therapists can keep you moving, strengthen your voice, improve your ability to swallow, and make your daily activities easier and more enjoyable. You can request therapy at any time. In fact, having an assessment soon after your diagnosis can provide a good baseline to keep you moving and engaged on your journey with Parkinson’s.

Physical therapists work with Parkinson patients to improve their mobility, balance and gait, and can design convenient and flexible home exercise programs to target specific exercise goals.

Occupational therapists work with you to identify adaptive strategies and equipment to reduce the impact of movement and cognitive issues on your daily activities, work and leisure interests.

Speech therapists can help with swallowing difficulties as well as voice and cognition.

In addition to interdisciplinary services of physical, occupational and speech therapy, the teams listed below offer Lee Silverman Voice Therapy (LSVT) BIG and LSVT LOUD, evidenced based programs that address the unique movement impairments associated with Parkinson’s disease. They provide people with the tools they need to keep moving and stay active. The protocol is both intensive and complex, focusing on the quality and loudness of your voice as well as the effectiveness of your movement patterns. Each participant is required to complete 4 one-hour sessions per week for 4 weeks.

All patients with the diagnosis of Parkinson’s (regardless of how far along in the diagnosis they are) are appropriate for LSVT BIG and LOUD services. Some symptoms you may experience that can respond to these services include (but are not limited to):

  • Speech changes: you may experience changes in the speed of your talking, the volume of your voice, or hesitation or slurring. Your speech may lack its usual inflections and sound monotone and it may be more difficult to convey facial expressions.
  • Swallowing changes: you may have a more difficult time swallowing your food, controlling saliva, or food may enter your airway instead of your stomach (aspiration).
  • Thinking changes: you may find it more difficult to plan or carry out activities, feel distracted or disorganized. You may have trouble remembering things or focusing when trying to do two things at once.
  • Writing changes: it may become harder to write, or your writing may appear smaller than usual.
  • Impaired posture and balance: your posture may become curved and you may be at a higher risk for falls.
  • Rigid muscles: you may have stiff muscles which can limit your natural range of motion in your arms and legs.
  • Slowed movement: over time, Parkinson’s may slow your movement. Daily tasks may become more time-consuming.

Early Intervention PD program

Inova Fair Oaks Hospital – For recently diagnosed patients.

1-3 Physical Therapy appointments to jump start on rehabilitation and maintenance of posture and movement:
– thorough PT assessment,
– screening for personal barriers,
– education on disease management through exercise,
– exercise prescription with collaborative approach,
– discharge with follow up in 6-12 months
Ask your doctor to write an order for PT evaluation “Early Parkinson’s Disease Program”.
For appointments and enquiries please call 703-391-3642.

Classes taught by Parkinson experts


For information about the classes offered by the Inova and Virginian teams, please go to:


We also offer movement, voice and cognition programs on Zoom taught by Parkinson experts Josefa Domingos and John Dean.
Click here to learn more about Dual Task for Parkinson’s.

To watch the 7/11/2022 Positive Aging Sourcebook webinar Introducing Inova Hospital Outpatient Rehabilitation Teams please click here.
Click here for the PowerPoint.