LSVT Treatment for Parkinson's Disease

April 05, 2023

Parkinson's Disease LSVT Treatment for Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's Disease  is a progressive disorder that affects approximately one million Americans.  And because it gets worse over time, being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease is a somber event.  But the good news is there are things you can do to slow the progression and improve your function.  LSVT treatment for Parkinson’s Disease is one of those things.

 What Happens with Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s Disease typically affects people over the age of 50.  It is characterized by resting tremor, stiff muscles, decreased balance, slowness of movement, and reduced size of movement. It results from the loss of nerve cells in the brain that produce dopamine.  Dopamine is a chemical messenger that transmits signals between regions of the brain to coordinate motor function.  If there is deficiency of dopamine, nerve cells "fire" out of control. This leaves people unable to direct or control movements.  When people with Parkinson's disease try to move, they encounter the following problems:

  • The "Get Ready" signal is too weak: This results in inadequate preparation or anticipation for movement. There is bradykinesia - slowness of movement, and hypokinesia - reduced amplitude of movement.
  • The "Go" signal is too weak: This results in inadequate selection or ability to start movement. There is freezing or start hesitation when trying to move.
  • The "No Go" signal is too weak: This results in inadequate completion of movement. There is festination - small, accelerating steps when walking, and sequential movements more difficult and run together.

Management of Parkinson's Disease:

So how do you get the Get Ready, Go and No Go signals stronger?  Medication is a vital component of treatment for Parkinson's Disease.  And there have been many advances in medication therapy for treatment for Parkinson's Disease with many new treatments on the horizon.  In addition to medication, other treatments include:

 LSVT Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease:

LSVT Big and Loud are rehabilitative treatment programs that are designed specifically for people with Parkinson's Disease. LSVT BIG trains people with Parkinson disease (PD) to use their body more normally.  People living with PD or other neurological conditions often move differently, with gestures and actions that become smaller and slower. They may have trouble with getting around, getting dressed and with other activities of daily living. 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 improves walking, self-care and other tasks by helping people "recalibrate" how they perceive their movements with what others actually see. It also teaches them how and when to apply extra effort to produce bigger motions - more like the movements of everyone around them.

Because LSVT BIG treatment is customized to each person's specific needs and goals, it can help regardless of the stage or severity of your condition. That said, the treatment may be most effective in early or middle stages of your condition, when you can both improve function and potentially slow further symptom progression. Beginning your work with LSVT BIG before you've noticed significant problems with balance, mobility or posture will often lead to the best results, but it's never too late to start. LSVT BIG can produce significant improvements even for people facing considerable physical difficulties.

 LSVT LOUD is an effective speech treatment for people with Parkinson's disease (PD) and other neurological conditions.  Named for Mrs. Lee Silverman (Lee Silverman Voice Treatment), a woman living with PD, the program trains people with PD to use their voice at a more normal loudness level while speaking at home, work, or in the community. Key to the treatment is helping people "recalibrate" their perceptions so they know how loud or soft they sound to other people and can feel comfortable using a stronger voice at a normal loudness level.

LSVT LOUD has also helped people with atypical parkinsonism’s, such as progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), and has recently shown promise for adults with speech issues arising from stroke or multiple sclerosis and children with cerebral palsy or Down Syndrome. Beginning your work with LSVT LOUD before you've noticed significant problems with voice, speech and communication will often lead to the best results, but it's never too late to start. LSVT LOUD has the potential to produce significant improvements even for people facing considerable communication difficulties.

 LSVT Treatment at Therapy Achievements:

Therapy Achievements specializes in working with patients with neurological disorders like Parkinson’s Disease.  They have more than ten LSVT trained therapists with over 37 years of cumulative experience in working with the LSVT program.  Our physical therapists are LSVT BIG certified and help people re-gain strength, balance and coordination for walking and moving.  Our occupational therapist are LSVT BIG certified as well and help people re-gain fine motor coordination for writing and manipulating objects, help identify adaptive equipment to make completing tasks easier, and assess safety for driving and train in adaptive driving strategies.  Our speech therapists are LSVT LOUD and Speak Out certified and help people re-gain voice volume and articulation for speaking, concentration, memory and problem solving for thinking, and chewing and swallowing function for eating.

 If Parkinson’s Disease has caused you to have problems with balance, tremor, slowness and small movements, LSVT treatment could help you reduce these symptoms and become more functional.  Are you ready to see if LSVT Treatment will make a difference for you?  Call 256-509-4398 to schedule an appointment today!