LSVT BIG for Parkinson’s Disease

Two women standing apart with arms spread wide

Parkinson’s Disease is a condition that effects how a patient is able to move. Often patients will experience slower movements (bradykinesia), smaller movements (hypokinesia), tremors, difficulty with posture and balance, and “freezing” episodes. This is due to a mismatch in the way that they perceive they are moving compared to how they are actually moving.

LSVT BIG is a treatment approach that is designed to help patients with Parkinson’s Disease re-calibrate how they are moving. It can be helpful in all stages of Parkinson’s Disease but is the most helpful in the early to middle stages. LSVT BIG treatment includes a set of 7 exercises that the patient does daily with the focus on moving with large amplitudes. The program also includes a walking program and custom exercises related to your specific impairment. These custom exercises could include tying your shoes, buttoning a shirt, or getting out of a chair.

Two women standing apart with arms spread wide

What should you expect on your first day of LSVT BIG treatment? On your initial visit your therapist will spend some time discussing your specific limitations, do some functional testing such as the BERG balance test, Dynamic Gait Index, or 5 Times Sit to Stand. They will also investigate if you have any specific joint mobility or strength limitations that need to be individually addressed as a supplement to the LSVT BIG program. From there they will provide you with a home exercise program and some of the 7 daily exercises that are part of the LSVT BIG program. The therapist will spend some time modifying these daily exercises so that you are safe performing them but are also challenged. From there you will be scheduled for the LSVT BIG treatment with them.

The treatment approach is designed to be performed for 1 hour each day 4 times per week for 4 weeks. There can be variation if you need to continue after 4 weeks depending on the severity of your condition. After the month of treatment you will occasionally need to come back for “tune- up” sessions. These vary in duration and frequency based on the severity of the condition and how compliant you are with your home exercises.

LSVT BIG treatment has been researched thoroughly over the years and results show that patients can improve their walking speed, balance, and quality of movement. It also supports that these results can last for up to a year as long as exercises are continually performed. Some recent research also suggests that LSVT BIG can be performed via telehealth successfully which expands our ability to deliver this treatment to patients.

Interested?! Check our our LSVT BIG page, or give us a call to set up a consultation with one of our LSVT BIG Therapists! 616.954.0950

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