It starts out slow with a slight shake in your hands and fingers. You begin to notice things like your handwriting getting a bit smaller, and your sense of smell just isn’t what it used to be. Overall you seem to be moving a little slower and you’ve been having trouble sleeping. What may seem like simple signs of aging could actually be the onset of Parkinson’s disease.
Learn how to fight Parkinson’s disease
While there is no cure for Parkinson’s, there are ways to treat the disease, keeping symptoms to a minimum. The LSVT BIG program encourages people to do different activities in their everyday lives that focus on BIG and quick movements. It’s based on the concept of neuroplasticity, which is when the brain reorganizes itself by forming new neural connections. By adjusting activities in response to new situations or changes in their environment, neuroplasticity allows the brain to compensate for injury and disease.
The LSVT program began as a form of speech therapy, now known as LSVT LOUD. Initially clinicians and researchers found that patients with Parkinson’s spoke quietly, but with increased voice amplitude their speech significantly improved. They applied that same concept to the patient’s ability to move and the LSVT BIG program began. Essentially, when a patient learns to make bigger movements with increased amplitude, it becomes easier to conduct what would be considered normal walking and movement patterns.
LSVT BIG treatment should begin as early as possible after diagnosis, but it’s never too late to start. With this intensive four week program, the goal is to recalibrate the patient’s movement patterns in order to help them move with increased safety and efficiency.
Research has shown positive effects on patients who have concluded LSVT BIG treatments. Patients have a better and faster gait while being able to take larger steps, stronger balance which reduced their risk of falls, and an increased range of motion in the back and joints.
In order for a physical therapist to administer LSVT BIG treatment, they must first get certified. While studying at Grand Valley State University, Amanda Kushba became exposed to the LSVT treatment method and was amazed at how something so simple could have such a profound impact on someone with Parkinson’s disease.
Kushba’s experience with LSVT BIG proved successful with nearly every patient in one form or another. Seemingly small changes eventually became big changes.
Physical therapist, Amanda Kushba, is an LSVT BIG certified therapist with Northern PT.
“People are often devastated by the news that they’ve been diagnosed with Parkinson’s because there is no cure, and it’s a progressive disease,” explains Kushba. “Although I can’t provide a full recovery for these individuals, being able to help them gain more independence and confidence to do some of the things that they love, and improve their overall quality of life, is absolutely priceless.”
If you or a loved one is suffering from Parkinson’s disease, LSVT BIG may be an ideal program. You can schedule a free consultation with Amanda to determine if physical therapy and LSVT BIG treatment is right for you.
The video below shows how one man is learning to live with Parkinson’s disease by utilizing the LSVT BIG principles.