Do you or a loved one struggle with Parkinson’s disease? If so, you know how difficult a condition it can be to manage.
While there are a number of different symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease, perhaps the most well-known is the difficulties with motor control.
This can cause difficulty with a variety of physical activities, and in extreme cases can make even the simple activities of everyday living impossible to accomplish without assistance.
However, physical therapy can help.
Using the LSVT BIG protocol to treat Parkinson’s disease, we can help you re-learn how to make use of your muscles so you can better do what you need to do.
What Is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder. Neurological means it affects the brain and its associated nerves, and progressive means it often gets worse as time goes on.
With Parkinson’s disease, it’s an issue related to dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that’s responsible for a number of different things, including sleep, kidney function, motivation, attention span, pain management, and movement.
It’s produced in a part of your brain called the substantia nigra. With Parkinson’s disease, your substantia nigra starts to die. This causes a reduction in dopamine levels. When they’ve dropped far enough, it causes symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
From a physical therapy perspective, the most significant symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include:
- Body tremors or shaking
- Slower movements
- Stiffness in extremities
- Difficulty with balancing
- Shuffling steps while walking
- Difficulty walking
We don’t know exactly what causes Parkinson’s disease. We do know that risk factors include:
- Sex – men are at greater risk
- Ethnicity – people of European descent are at greater risk
- Age – because most cases of Parkinson’s appear between 50-60 years old, and it’s a progressive disorder, this makes it a seniors health issue
- History of head injuries
- Exposure to certain toxins
What Is LSVT BIG?
LSVT BIG is a treatment protocol that helps people with Parkinson’s disease regain the ability to control their bodies.
Developed by the team at LSVT Global, the LSVT BIG protocol focuses on large limb movements – hence the name. With these movements, LSVT BIG can help by:
- Improving balance
- Improving movement speed
- Reducing tremors
- Improving walking ability
- Improving independence
- Reducing the onset of symptoms
Because people with Parkinson’s disease have difficulty with movement, their movements often become smaller over time. Rather than striding, they shuffle their feet. Rather than swinging as they walk, their arms hang at their sides. Blinking becomes less frequent, and even speaking becomes quieter.
By focusing on helping you make bigger movements, the LSVT BIG treatment protocol can help make smaller movements, like buttoning a shirt or brushing your teeth, easier.
What Does LSVT BIG Treatment Look Like?
Your physical therapist will begin by spending some time with you to talk about your individual concerns. While Parkinson’s disease can affect different people in different ways, the same symptoms can also have different effects on different people.
For example, it’s common for people with Parkinson’s disease symptoms to have difficulty writing. But this will naturally affect a professional writer’s life much more than others’.
Once your physical therapist has an understanding of what your individual frustrations are, they will put together a treatment plan designed to address these concerns.
From there, LSVT BIG treatment will begin. The LSVT BIG protocol is an intensive, month long treatment.
During your LSVT BIG treatment, you’ll see your physical therapist for four one hour sessions per week, along with some homework to do on your own as well.
Because of the intensity of the LSVT BIG protocol, it requires a higher level of commitment than other physical therapy treatment services. However, it can make a significant difference in helping you gain better control over your body.
When Should I Begin LSVT BIG Treatments?
There are five stages of Parkinson’s disease. During stage 1, symptoms may be so mild you may not even realize you have it. During stage 5, the symptoms can be so extreme that constant care may be necessary.
Because LSVT BIG treatments are customized to each individual, they can help at any stage of Parkinson’s disease. However, they tend to be more effective in the earlier stages of the disease.
Book An Appointment With Capitol Physical Therapy
Have you been struggling with Parkinson’s disease?
Have you just recently received a diagnosis and aren’t sure what to do?
Either way, we can help.
Book an appointment today with Capitol Physical Therapy to find out more about the LSVT BIG treatment protocol.
Receiving a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis can be overwhelming and even frightening, but there is help.
Alongside other treatments, the LSVT BIG protocol can help you maintain your quality of life for longer.
Book your LSVT BIG appointment with Capitol Physical Therapy today.