"BIG" News in Parkinson's Disease Treatment

Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive neurological disease effecting over 8 million people worldwide. The most common symptoms experienced are bradykinesia and hypokinesia, which means movements have become smaller or slowed compared to an individual without Parkinson’s. While this is incredibly frustrating for our patients, we at Focus Physiotherapy are now able to offer a program with over 20 years of NIH funded research behind it. It is an intervention strategy called LSVT BIG, which we are very excited to share with you as our company’s LSVT BIG certified clinician.

LSVT BIG was created based on the foundational principles of neuroplasticity: repetition, complexity, intensity, salience, timing, and specificity matter. All this means is that in order to change the brain, we must teach a new concept often, work it at a high intensity level, and make it mean something to you as an individual. No matter how big or small you may think an activity is, whether it is buttoning a shirt or being able to spend time with family, if it is important to you then it matters to us.


You might be thinking this sounds great on paper, but what does the program look like for you as a patient? LSVT BIG consists of one-on-onetime with me for one-hour sessions 4 times a week for 4 weeks. To perform this intervention with a patient, I went through special training and continuing education in order to learn more about the process. The best time to start is early in the disease progression to maintain mobility and prevent a decline in function, but there is a modification for all levels of mobility, and it is never too late to start.

Parkinson’s Disease is a complex disease; therefore, we must treat it in a way that addresses our patients as a whole including motor amplitude, sensory awareness, and functional personalization. In studies comparing standard Parkinson’s Disease interventions, LSVT BIG patients were the only ones with a statistically significant improvement on the United Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale, a disease severity progression outcome1.LSVT BIG training has also been shown to clinically improve stride length, speed, reaction time, balance, and dual task ability2,3,4,5. While these improvements are wonderful to see in a research setting, we at Focus are more concerned about how each of these plays a role in getting you back to moving. I want you to have improved balance so you can chase after your grandchildren or improve your dexterity to allow you to write letters to friends. No matter your goal, I would love to be a part of it. Parkinson’s Disease is a life changing diagnosis, but it does not mean it dictates how you decide to live. Come visit me at Focus Physiotherapy and see if the LSVT BIG program can help you!

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