- Posted on: Jan 13 2020
Parkinson’s Disease and LSVT BIG Treatment Approach
Parkinson’s Disease is a nervous system disorder that affects the parts of your brain that dictate movement. With Parkinson’s disease, there is decreased amounts of dopamine, a chemical found in the brain. Overtime, a person with Parkinson’s disease may lose some or all of their ability to control their movement due to the lower levels of dopamine in the brain. Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include tremors, slow movement, forward flexed posture, changes in speech and rigid muscles. Patients with Parkinson’s disease may also exhibit freezing and festinating gait patterns which present as shuffling or stalling suddenly while walking. This can put a patient as risk for loss of balance and falls which can result in further injury if not prevented. There are several treatment approaches and exercise programs that target the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease to allow for normalization of function and mobility.
LSVT- BIG is a popular treatment technique that incorporates over-exaggerated, large movements combined with the theory of neuroplasticity. This theory is the idea that the brain can form new connections within, allowing for learning of new movement patterns which can help normalize movement patterns for patients with Parkinson’s disease. These new neural connections are pathways that can send messages from your brain to your body, allowing it to move. These pathways would have otherwise been unable to be used due to the effects of Parkinson’s. The benefits of LSVT-BIG can be seen almost immediately pre and post implementation of the LSVT BIG movements, with patients unable to perform a task prior to implementation, to being able to perform it normally afterwards. By performing the specific exercises tailored to each patient by an LSVT-BIG certified physical therapist, the patient is able to better control their movements, allowing them to perform tasks varying from buttoning their shirts, tying their shoes, cooking meals, and driving.
LSVT-BIG helps to improve balance, strength, and range of motion in patients with Parkinson’s. It can also improve walking speed by encouraging and re-teaching patients to take bigger steps. LSVT BIG also improves rotation in an attempt to reduce the rigidity associated with Parkinson’s disease. This patient centered exercise program has been successful in restoring function in patients with Parkinson’s disease with its individualized programs which vary from one month to 6 months, with education provided to the patient to complete some exercises at home to further their progress. While there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease, LSVT BIG is one option to restore function and allow patients to live as normally as possible.
Posted in: Medical Education