According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, every six minutes someone is diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in the United States.
April is Parkinson’s Disease (PD) Awareness Month and along with the PD Community, we are encouraging everyone to take six minutes in an effort to raise awareness, advance the research, and become knowledgeable of the available treatments for this disease. With someone being diagnosed every six minutes, that totals 90,00 people per year in the United States alone. Let’s be advocates.
Beyond awareness comes treatment. At Tx:Team, we have Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapists who are trained and certified in treating patients with PD. One treatment program which has been proven beneficial is the LSVT BIG® and LOUD® Program.
How do the LSVT programs benefit Parkinson’s patients?
Parkinson’s can impact function in everything a person does at home, at work, and in their community recreational pursuits. The LSVT programs help patients to maintain movement and voice for normal function in everyday life beyond medication and repetitive, non-direct task training exercises utilizing principles of neuroplasticity backed by years of research. It takes all 16 visits (four times per week for four weeks) to achieve carry over so that by the end of one month, patients know how to move BIGGER and be LOUDER all the time.
A unique feature of LSVT BIG® and LOUD® is that it recognizes there is an internal cuing proprioceptive issue in individuals with Parkinson’s such as softer voice and smaller movements, in people that are unable to recognize their deficits the majority of the time.
What is the focus of LSVT BIG®?
- Faster speed
- Greater arm swing
- Longer steps
- Overcoming difficulty getting through the doorway
- Longer distance
- Faster clothing donning
- Grasping materials during meal preparation
- Legible handwriting
- Amplitude of movement when showering
What is the focus of LSVT LOUD®?
- Louder voice that is not hoarse
- Improved facial expression
- Reduction of monotone speech
- Improved emotion
- Using more words
Who would benefit from BIG® and LOUD®?
Patients who have a decline in the amplitude of their movement, voice, posture, and balance in addition to reduced speech intelligibility are motivated to participate in all required sessions.
Why are these programs so important to this patient population?
LSVT BIG® and LOUD® assists this patient population in maintaining, enhancing, and slowing progression of Parkinson’s Disease, which in return facilitates their ability to maintain a level of independence with the following skill sets essential for daily living:
- Changes in cognitive function. People with PD can still learn, but it might take longer and require more repetition of practice. As a patient progresses, the therapist will work on dual tasking so you can keep moving bigger and being louder while doing something else at the same time. For example, getting dressed and talking, walking while carrying something, or tapping your leg while reading.
- Changes in movement amplitude. Commonly, people with PD have difficulty with activities they didn’t before. As a patient progresses, utilizing larger movements helps patients return to these activities without cues and assistance.
- Changes in communication. People who have PD have soft speech and feel that they are talking WNL while others “need a hearing aid.” However, people may begin to feel embarrassed with social isolation. As a patient progresses with continuous use of a loud voice, they are able to participate in conversations without feeling excluded while maintaining their dignity.
- Changes in emotional regulation, pacing, attention, cardiovascular health, sleep, and confidence can also be seen!
If you have any more questions about the LSVT program for BIG® or LOUD®, find a certified therapist in your area or visit this website.
Nidhi, Alita, and Johanna are all experienced therapists in the Outpatient Clinic setting in Frederick, MD. They work collaboratively together to support and treat patients with a variety of neurological diagnoses. Nidhi, Alita, and Johanna enjoy the relationships they foster with their patients, and they love to help them achieve their functional goals.
Nidhi Talpade, PT, DPT, BIG® Certified
Alita Borkar, MA, OTRL, BIG® Certified
Johanna Ebbs, MS, CCC-SLP, LOUD® Certified.