Proactive Treatments to Parkinson’s Disease: LSVT BIG

Those with Parkinson’s Disease move and speak differently as the disease progresses, with gestures and actions that become smaller and slower, and their voice becomes softer.  The result is a mismatch between what the actions of those with Parkinson’s actually are, and what they perceive.  LSVT BIG helps improve the mismatch between what is felt they’re doing and what they’re actually doing. It helps people “recalibrate” to recognize when their movements are smaller or slower than they think.

The treatment is a customized OT/PT intensive program that is 4 weeks long, and then continues with daily home exercises.  It requires an LSVT BIG Certified Clinician, such as with Safe At Home Physical Therapy, and can be done in the clinic or at home. 

LSVT BIG effectively trains improved movements for any activity, whether “small motor” tasks like buttoning a shirt or “large motor” tasks like getting up from sofa or chair or maintaining balance while walking.

The treatment can lead to faster walking with bigger steps and arm swings, better balance and more ability to twist at the waist. I often helps people with buttoning their clothes, writing and other small motor tasks, as large motor movements like dressing, getting up from a seat and getting into bed.

Treatment is most effective in early or middle stages, when function can improve, and potentially slow further symptom progression. Its holistic approach addresses not only movement issues but also takes into account non-motor symptoms including emotional changes and cognitive changes.  LSVT LOUD focuses on speech for those with Parkinson’s. Often these movements seem strange at first — too big, even though they’re comparable to those of people all around you. Over time, with successful therapy, the brain will recognize these larger movements as normal.