Jean, like many patients with this condition, was suffering from leg stiffness for nearly 10 years before being diagnosed in the fall of 2012. Suffering from a torn meniscus she experienced pain in her left knee and was unable to reduce the stiffness with stretching. Unsteady on her feet, she had taken a few falls. At the suggestion of her daughter, Michael McKindley of Progressive Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation was recommended to her.
One of the first physical therapists in California to be certified in the LSVT BIG program for Parkinson’s Disease, Michael had the skills and knowledge to address her specific issues. Adapted from the principles behind the successful Lee Silverman Voice Treatment, LSVT BIG therapy includes repetitive, exaggerated movements that increase dopamine production in the brain and recalibrate muscle function. This helps to counteract the slow movement—bradykinesia—that is one of the main motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
“Jean should be commended on seeking therapy early on with her disease,” said Michael McKindley, DPT. “Most people don’t realize how important it is to get started as soon as possible with specialized care. This can be an important factor in helping maintain an active lifestyle. Her falling was very concerning to both of us. Addressing the balance issues along with providing her with techniques to help her in her every day activities were the primary goal we wanted to achieve which would also help restore her confidence.”
Jean’s therapy had a multi-pronged approach. To deal with her knee pain, manual soft tissue manipulation was used, along with strengthening exercises which would help increase her range of motion. To combat the deficiencies caused by Parkinson’s she was taught very specific exercises to improve her balance and gait and was provided with a home exercise program.