Start exercising NOW – as soon as possible
The latest Parkinson’s disease therapy research shows the benefits of beginning an exercise program as soon as possible. Unfortunately, many patients with this diagnosis don’t often get this advice from their physician because medications can be effective therapy for Parkinson’s sufferers early in the diagnosis. Medications can reduce many symptoms and delay a patient’s awareness of their need for physical therapy. Recent studies, however, support the benefits of quickly seeking education and therapy options, including physical therapy. In actuality, the time of diagnosis is the time that patients should begin to research and adopt the lifestyle changes and therapy for Parkinson’s disease as early therapy can have the most impact on quality of life.
LSVT BIG therapy for Parkinson’s Disease
LSVT BIG therapy can help people with Parkinson’s Disease to improve movement. This technique often yields measurable results within the first treatment, and it not only helps patients to improve movement over time; it also helps them to build confidence.
Why BIG is better
BIG has one primary focus: amplitude. It asks those following the program to move “big,” encouraging a vigorous range of movement and pushing participants to use all parts of the body, from the feet to the hands and fingers. In a BIG session, the patient mimics or mirrors the therapist through a series of large stepping or rocking movements with their arms moving in various directions.
In recent studies, the principles of LSVT BIG were applied to limb movement in people with Parkinson’s disease. The documented results demonstrated improvements in amplitude (trunk rotation/gait) that generalized to improve speed (upper/lower limbs), balance, and quality of life. In addition, people were able to maintain these improvements when challenged with a dual task.
At Progressive Physical Therapy, our programs are designed to meet the individual needs of the patient and their ability in a safe and fun manner. This, combined with doing a home exercise program one to two times a day helps clients with Parkinson’s Disease improve their skills. The goal is for patients to use their “bigger” movements automatically in everyday living and for long-term carryover of increased amplitude. The therapy can be used in a walking, standing or sitting position.
Going beyond BIG
Our BIG program also incorporates traditional physical therapy evaluations and treatment. A Parkinson’s diagnosis is challenging enough. That is why we go Beyond BIG to ensure we address any other issue that may be causing problems with movement. Whether it’s the normal effects of an aging body, a joint replacement surgery or a nagging injury, we will enhance our treatment plan to include appropriate exercises, stretches, balance, and flexibility training to ensure the best quality of life possible for our patients.
Certified LSVT BIG clinician
In 2008, Michael McKindley, DPT, was the first physical therapist in California to be certified in the LSVT BIG program. Under his leadership his team has earned the trust of the area’s physicians for their expertise, compassion, and skill in addressing the needs of patients with neurological challenges, balance issues and Parkinson’s Disease. Because of the additional medical needs associated with Parkinson’s patients, we are happy to work closely with physicians to ensure coordination of care.
“Over the years, we have treated many patients with Parkinson’s disease,” McKindley said. “Unlike an ACL tear or a herniated disc that eventually gets better with therapy, Parkinson’s disease is a debilitating diagnosis with a life-long impact on the patient. Using the LSVT BIG program as a starting point and going Beyond BIG, I am amazed at how successful this therapy can be in improving the daily function and quality of life for the patient. We have built a staff around neurological and balance evaluation, training and treatment to address a wide-array of needs facing our patients. Most importantly, we pride ourselves on the individual care we deliver.”
“We take for granted little tasks like tying a shoe, exchanging money or simply getting out of a chair,” he added. “I have seen the successful results we have obtained with our patients. It is truly inspiring to me and our staff to witness the positive impact we make.”