May 2016 – Rehab and Wellness Connection

BIG and LOUD Therapy for Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative brain disorder that typically progresses slowly. PD impacts those diagnosed in many different ways. Not everyone who is diagnosed will experience all of the symptoms of Parkinson's, and if they do, they won't necessarily experience them in quite the same order, or at the same level of intensity. First introduced in 1967, a simple rating tool used by clinicians as a means to generally describe the symptoms has helped specialists to treat the different stages of Parkinson's disease. The stages are classified 1-5.

Physical Therapy can have a large impact on treating PD and helping to slow the progression. It is called BIG and LOUD Therapy. One of the early signs of PD is a person's voice becoming quieter, almost a whisper, and strides becoming smaller, almost to a shuffling gait. The person has no idea this is happening as it sounds and feels no different. In 1986, Mrs. Lee Silverman was coping with the results of quieter speech and smaller movements and her family helped to develop therapy to compensate and treat these changes. Today, over 20,000 Physical and Occupational Therapists around the world have been trained in the BIG and LOUD Therapy; formally called LSVT.

We are fortunate to have a trained therapy provider in BIG and LOUD Therapy within our network of clinical staff. Andrea Elwood is a full-time staff therapist at our Rice Lake PTRS location. Andrea is an experienced, licensed, Physical Therapist Assistant with Certification in LSVT Therapy. We work within our network of clinics to assist our patients to be seen at any of our convenient locations. We would be more than happy to assist you in making an appointment with Andrea for your convenience! Andrea sees patients Monday-Friday. (Interesting to note that the next closest certified LSVT therapist is located in Eau Claire).

BIG and LOUD (LSVT) is an evidence-based protocol recognized by the American Physical Therapy Association. It is based on high amplitude, large effort movements to improve efficiency of everyday activities, improve balance and reduce fall risks. The protocol is 1-hour treatments, 4 days a week for 4 weeks. Home exercises are taught to the patient as well to complete in between treatments.

Although early treatment is beneficial, it has been shown that it is never too late to start. Modifications can be made to each exercise and tailored specific to the patient depending on their current abilities and the stage of their diagnosis.

The primary goal is that the patient will carry over "bigger" movements in their everyday life. For example, a portion of the protocol is to practice sit to stand transfers and to use "BIG" motions while walking. Concentration is also on repetitive movements, counting out loud and using a loud voice throughout.

This therapy program has shown that progression of the disease can be slowed. The sensorimotor system is re-educated and with reinforcement through the program, it is proven to have positive outcomes for the diagnosed patient.

If you are a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease and would like more information or have any questions about receiving BIG and LOUD Therapy, our trained staff is ready to answer any questions you may have or provide any further information on this topic. Call Clear Lake PTRS at 715-263-4103 or stop in at 417 3rd Avenue in Clear Lake.