Physical Therapy News

Fight Parkinson’s disease with LSVT BIG

Fight Parkinson’s disease with LSVT BIG

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.

Fight Parkinson’s disease with LSVT BIG

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.


3 Easy Ways To Get Physical Therapy Advice

3 Easy Ways To Get Physical Therapy Advice

Has the recent weather left you feeling…well, under the weather? Neck and shoulder tension from white knuckle driving, back pain from shoveling, or lingering pain from a fender bender – whatever the cause may be, the effects are still being felt.

If you’re experiencing pain or seeking physical therapy, we have just the thing for you… we’re offering no-cost advice, Saturday hours, and convenient walk-in options.

Saturday Hours
On February 9 we’ll be open for special Saturday hours at select clinics. Schedule in advance by calling the clinic, or simply walk-in!
Cedar Springs: 8-10am
Coopersville: 9-11am
Comstock Park: 9-11am, plus FREE dry needling to the first 5 people who take advantage of our walk-in hours. Free dry needling is limited to 5 needles and it available only at the Comstock Park location.

Walk-Ins Welcome
Get those aches taken care of once and for all, whenever it’s convenient for you. We’re welcoming walk-ins anytime during business hours through February 8. Talk to a therapist on the spot, we can help you! As always, you can also schedule an appointment in advance if you’d prefer.

Free physical therapy advice*
Sometimes you just have a quick question, or maybe you’re unsure whether physical therapy is right for you. We’re now offering three easy ways to get in touch, at no cost!

  • Click :: Email your questions to Michelle Hertel. Michelle is a physical therapist with 28 years of experience. This is the easiest way to get a quick response on the go.
  • Call :: Speak directly to a therapist. If you want to go a step further you can schedule a FaceTime or simply call in to explain what you’re feeling and get some advice without leaving home. When you call the clinic, just explain that you’d like to talk to a therapist to get some advice and you’ll be connected!
  • Come In :: Schedule a free consultation to have a face-to-face appointment with a therapist. We’ll talk about what’s bothering you and review the next steps in treating the pain.


Schedule an appointment the week of February 4 and receive 10% off any therapy product – including Biofreeze, Yaktrax, and Kinesio Tape!

Getting access to a physical therapist is now easier than ever. If you’re unsure whether physical therapy can help you, or you’re not ready to leave the comfort of your home, give us a call or email – we’re here to help you!

*Free physical therapy advice is limited to a series of phone calls or emails; or a one-time 30 minute face-to-face consultation. Should you decide to pursue a treatment plan, costs and payment options will be discussed prior to appointment.

5 Tips to Help You Keep Your Exercise Routine

5 Tips to Help You Keep Your Exercise Routine

Make no mistake about it – we are fully entrenched in the new year. After all the shopping, meal preparation, stress, and overeating, came the annual New Year’s Resolution. The most common resolution, of course, is to exercise, lose weight or get in shape. “This is the year!”

Sound familiar?

As avid exercise enthusiasts, we’ve seen the number of gym-goers in January start to dwindle by February or March. Many people fizzle out of their exercise commitment for one reason or another. An unfortunate culprit of exercise drop-outs is injuries. While the motivation to recommit to a lifestyle of healthy eating and exercise is admirable, it can also be easily forgotten, especially when pain gets in the way.

5 Tips to Help You Keep Your Exercise RoutineAvoid injury at the gym and keep working on those New Year’s fitness goals by following these 5 tips to help you keep your exercise routine:

1. Fitness vs. Health
There’s a difference between working out for fitness and working out for health. Most people work out for fitness because it’s a lot more fun than working on some of the key exercises we therapists use for restoring a person to optimal health and range of motion. However, it’s vital to know the difference, and to know that while many fitness exercise programs allow you to quickly “feel the burn,” you need to make sure you’re not causing more harm than good to your joints, muscles, and tendons. At 18 years old, we can only work out for fitness because at that point we usually 10-feet tall and bullet-proof. But as the years go by and the tires get more miles on them, we need to be more mindful of that and focus equally on exercising for our health and for fitness. If you have questions regarding fitness classes or programs, we can offer guidance.

2. Stretch
Easier said than done. But many of us are sedentary and seated most of the day, so we all need to focus on stretching our shoulders, neck, low back, hips, knees, and ankles to improve or maintain the available range of motion we have. The truth is, most injuries can be avoided by stretching our joints and muscles to maintain our freedom of movement. Here are four simple stretches you can do right at your desk.

3. Work in a pain-free range of motion
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s an important one. It also relies on your ability to know your limits and to know the difference between pain, soreness, and fatigue. Regardless of what your friend, personal trainer, or person from the Youtube video may tell you about a certain exercise, know your body and know when and how to modify an exercise to make sure it can be done pain-free.

5 Tips to Help You Keep Your Exercise Routine4. Bench-press? Think again
Follow this guide for the safest chest and shoulder exercise. Sadly, it’s become the most popular male weightlifting exercise, mostly stemming from high school. The bench is one of the worst exercises we can do for the health of our shoulders. It’s an exercise we can get away with in high school, but in our 30s and 40s, as our rotator cuff can accumulate more wear-and-tear, it’s not something we so easily tolerate. Same goes for the military press.

Here is our list of safest, to least safe basic gym chest/shoulder weight training exercises:

  1. (Most Safe) Push-ups: There’s no shortage of variation and progressions
  2. Incline bench with dumbbells
  3. Incline bench with barbell
  4. Flat bench with dumbbells
  5. Military press with barbell (in front of head)
  6. Flat bench with barbell
  7. (Least Safe) Military press with barbell (behind head)

5. Walk. Walk. Walk.
Find time to walk every day for at least 20 continuous minutes. The health benefits of daily walking are too high to list. We consider daily walking as one of the examples of exercising for health. It’s vital to find time to make this a regular activity because not only does it perfectly compliment the exercises we do for fitness, but it’s easier to stick with consistently and see regular health benefits.

5 Tips to Help You Keep Your Exercise RoutineHere’s the point…

Follow these simple guidelines and don’t let an injury keep you from your fitness or health goals.  If you want to start by just walking or running, check out our article on taking your first steps.

It’s important to listen to your body. If you feel an injury starting to arise consult with one of our physical therapists for an evaluation or free consultation. The state of Michigan allows direct access, meaning you can see a PT without a prescription.

We offer a variety of fitness classes including yoga, HIIT, RunClub, water aerobics, and SeniorFit. Our classes are easily adaptable for any fitness level and are taught by trained instructors who can help if you begin to experience any discomfort while exercising. Get details and sign up here.

If you need more tips to help you keep your exercise routine, we’re always here to help. Make 2019 your year to feel great and take control of your health!

5 Tips to Help You Keep Your Exercise Routine



Allendale > 6173 Lake Michigan Dr.
Caledonia > 9321 Cherry Valley
Cedar Springs > 308 S. Main
Comstock Park > 4615 W. River Dr.
Coopersville > 25 Conran
Grant > 17615 W. Moore
Lowell > 2050 W. Main
Norton Shores > 6022 Harvey
Sparta > 31 Ida Red
Wayland > 709 West Superior


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