Therapy and Parkinson’s: Using BIG Movements to Stay Mobile

Therapy and Parkinson’s: Using BIG Movements to Stay Mobile

LSVT Big (BIG) is a treatment technique used by Physical and Occupational Therapists to improve a person's, ability to produce larger more normal movements with walking and activities of daily living.  It is more commonly known as a treatment strategy to help those folks who have been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease.

Parkinson's Disease (PD) is a type of neurological movement disorder. It can affect a person's ability to perform common everyday activities. People with PD can experience a wide range of symptoms, including those that impact movement (motor symptoms) and those that do not (non-motor symptoms). The most common motor symptoms of PD are tremors, stiffness, or rigidity of the muscles and a slowness in movement (bradykinesia). Because PD impacts a person's movement center, a person with PD typically experiences a decrease in their ability to regulate their posture, balance, coordination, and walking. Overtime, a person may be unable to recognize the differences in their walking, including steps, size of arm swing, or even the speed at which they are moving. Many people with PD and caregivers get frustrated with the shuffling gait, falls, slowness of movement, poor handwriting, and overall rigidity that impacts the ability to perform various activities of daily living.

BIG is a treatment approach that helps people experiencing any movement difficulties. It's never too early or late to try this effective treatment approach to Parkinson's Disease.  BIG uses exercises performed with large amplitude movements to help change the motor plan in the brain. With repetition and daily exercise our brains can be retrained to adapt to change.

BIG offers an approach to be able to continue living life with the energy and confidence you once had and can work to achieve again.

It is not only an approach that improves strength, coordination, balance, and flexibility, but it gives you the ability to move with less difficulty to make daily tasks and activities easier! This program can help lower frustration, improve confidence to help someone live comfortably, live freely, and be the best they can.

Success varies between individuals but seeing improvements, whether big or small is exciting. I have been working with a client who has not only gained his confidence but has been able to resume one of his roles, the ability to manage his home finances. Several months ago, he was observing hand weakness, and poor coordination. He was slowly noticing his inabilty to read his own writing. Signing his name had become a frustrating task. Taking notes from the phone were not possible because no one could read them. Signing checks became impossible and he was slowly losing his ability to managing finances. After 2 weeks of BIG training, my client was able to see a significant difference in his legibility and he was able to stay on a line, write easier and faster. He was able to start writing checks, manage finances again, and he could now take a message if someone called.

This same client reports visiting with family after not seeing each other for 4 months. They observed improved control of his movements, increased ease of getting out of chairs, and improved speed of walking and talking with this client. After seeing his neurologist, he felt validated by his doctor's observation that he was walking much better and took less time to walk across the waiting room to meet the nurse.

A typical plan of care for BIG is 4 days a week for 4 weeks designed for those who have recently been diagnosed and those that have been living with PD for some time. The ultimate goal is to improve general mobility, safety, and quality of life.

Want to learn more? Contact our office to get signed up for an evaluation with our certified therapist to determine if you or your loved one is a candidate for BIG!

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