Parkinson’s Disease (PD)

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a movement disorder affecting an estimated 1 million Americans and more than 10 million people worldwide. It is a progressive and chronic disease, meaning the symptoms become worse over time. 

PD is characterized by several motor symptoms (involving movement) such as tremors, stiffness or rigidity of muscles, postural and balance changes, gait problems, slowness of movement (bradykinesia) and smallness of movement (hypokinesia). 

These symptoms can make it difficult for people with PD to tolerate walking, caring for themselves, working, and performing daily activities such as getting in and out of bed, eating, writing, or dressing among other things. 

It can also cause non-motor symptoms such as sleep problems, constipation, depression, anxiety, pain, cognitive changes, fatigue, and other concerning symptoms. Motor and non-motor symptoms can vary significantly from person to person.

Treatments to Ease The Symptoms of PD

While there is no cure for PD at this time, there are numerous treatments available that can help ease the symptoms including, but not limited to lifestyle changes, promoting a healthy diet and exercise, medications, and deep brain stimulation (DBS). 

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and complex disorder that requires an interdisciplinary approach to care. This type of approach creates a supportive environment for both the person living with PD and their family, allowing the treatment to have the greatest chance of success.

Physical, occupational, and speech therapy are critical to the successful treatment plan for people living with PD. Research is currently showing that high-intensity routine exercise is critical in not only improving the function and motor capabilities in people living with PD, but may also play a role in slowing down the rate of such changes. 

Take home message…exercise is KEY!

LSVT BIG Program at Timberlane PT

LSVT BIG is an intensive, amplitude focused exercise approach that is a standardized treatment protocol with the main goal of improving the size or amplitude of movement. 

Here at Timberlane PT, we are pleased to offer the LSVT BIG program with Sara Costa, MPT. Sara received her certification in the program in 2014, allowing her to treat those with Parkinson’s disease.

The program is customized to meet the unique goals of each person and includes both gross and fine motor skills. The protocol consists of 16 individualized one-hour long physical therapy sessions (4 times per week for 4 weeks) with daily homework practice and carryover exercises given by an LSVT BIG certified physical therapist. 

The LSVT BIG programs have been developed and researched over the last 25 years with funding from the National Institutes of Health. 

Research on LSVT BIG has documented improved ratings on tests of motor functioning in people with Parkinson’s disease following the 4-week treatment which include: 

  • faster walking with bigger steps 
  • improved balance
  • decreased shuffling
  • improved posture 
  • increased trunk rotation 
  • improvements in the ability to transition from sit-to-stand and perform bed mobility

Many other positive benefits can occur with this treatment protocol including:

  • improved confidence
  • independence
  • less reliance on caregivers and family members
  • improved safety in the home
  • decreased risk of falls
  • improved strength and endurance 

Helping to Improve The Quality of Life for Those Living with Parkinson’s Disease

It is our goal at Timberlane PT to help provide the skills, support, and education you and your family will need to improve not only your physical health, but your confidence and outlook on the future. 

We are here to help everyone impacted by Parkinson’s disease live life to the fullest. Call today for an appointment or to discuss any questions you may have regarding this treatment. 

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