Learn how PT can help anyone with Parkinson’s Disease

As explained in a previous blog post, Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive neurodegenerative movement disorder. Its common signs include rigid, smaller amplitude movements, and/or slowed, slurred speech. Although not curable, treatment options do exist to slow the progression of Parkinson’s Disease and maintain function. In today’s post, we will touch on a physical therapy treatment that has helped many people suffering from Parkinson’s Disease maintain movement quality and functionality. It is called LSVT Big.

LSVT Big is a specialized physical therapy program designed specifically for individuals with Parkinson’s Disease. This treatment approach focuses on improving movement quality and functionality, with the ultimate goal of enhancing patients’ overall quality of life. LSVT BIG stands for Lee Silverman Voice Treatment, which was initially developed to improve speech in Parkinson’s patients. However, it was later adapted to address the motor symptoms of the disease as well.

A Revolutionary Physical Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease

The core principle of LSVT BIG is to encourage patients to make larger and more exaggerated movements. Parkinson’s Disease often leads to smaller and more restricted movements, making everyday tasks challenging. LSVT BIG aims to retrain the brain to recognize the importance of larger movements and to restore normal movement patterns. By emphasizing the need for bigger movements, this therapy helps patients regain control over their bodies and improve their overall mobility.

During LSVT BIG sessions, patients work with a physical therapist who guides them through a series of exercises and activities. These exercises focus on improving balance, coordination, flexibility, and strength. The therapist helps the patient perform movements such as reaching, stepping, and walking, while providing verbal cues and physical guidance as needed. Repetition is a key component of LSVT BIG, as it helps reinforce new movement patterns and improve motor function.

parkinson's disease physical therapy

From Stiffness to Fluidity: Helping Parkinson’s Patients Regain Control

One unique aspect of LSVT BIG is the use of specific techniques to enhance movement quality and cadence. For example, patients may be encouraged to “slap” their thighs while walking to increase step length and improve gait. This technique helps patients become more aware of their movements and encourages them to take larger steps. Additionally, patients are often instructed to count out loud while performing exercises, which helps regulate their movement rhythm and improve overall coordination.

Setting Goals, Achieving Success

LSVT BIG is a highly goal-oriented therapy, with patients setting 3-5 specific goals to work towards during treatment. These goals may include tasks such as walking without assistance, getting in and out of a chair independently, or improving balance during daily activities. By setting clear objectives, patients are motivated to actively participate in their therapy sessions and stay committed to their rehabilitation.

Typically, LSVT BIG involves four treatment sessions per week, spread over a four-week period. This intensive schedule allows for consistent practice and reinforcement of new movement patterns. Throughout the treatment, patients are encouraged to practice the exercises and techniques learned during therapy sessions at home to maximize their progress.

A Step Towards Freedom

Research has shown that LSVT BIG can have significant benefits for individuals with Parkinson’s Disease. It has been found to improve motor function, increase mobility, and enhance overall quality of life. Patients who undergo LSVT BIG often report improvements in their ability to perform daily activities, such as dressing, bathing, and cooking. They also experience increased confidence and a greater sense of independence.

In conclusion, LSVT BIG is an effective physical therapy treatment for individuals with Parkinson’s Disease. By emphasizing the importance of larger movements and retraining the brain to recognize their necessity, this therapy helps patients regain control over their bodies and improve their overall mobility. With its goal-oriented approach and intensive schedule, LSVT BIG allows patients to make significant progress and improve their quality of life. If you or a loved one are living with Parkinson’s Disease, it may be worth considering LSVT BIG as part of your treatment plan.

Written by: Colin Fulton, PTA, LSVT Big Certified

If you, or someone you know has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, come on down to Rehab Solutions. We have 5 LSVT certified clinicians on staff that can help to get you moving better, moving stronger, and moving forward.

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Gillette, WY 82718

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