by: Melinda Rodriguez,PT,DPT,LSVT-Big
AQTS Home Health
“If you are going to think anything,
you might as well THINK BIG!”
LSVT BIG is a standardized exercise protocol, delivered in 1:1 sessions by an LSVT BIG certified Physical or Occupational therapist. Patients are treated 3-4 days per week for 4 weeks and during that time they are encouraged to make big effort, big steps and big gestures through a series of maximum daily exercises. Patients are “re-calibrated” to learn that if they don’t feel like they are moving “too big” they are not moving big enough. In addition to learning the series of maximum daily exercises, patients complete goal oriented activities of daily l i v i n g using high-amplitude movements with intensive motivation and feedback. The high effort and intensive practice which is emphasized throughout the sessions of the LSVT BIG program is what is necessary to produce maximal neuroplasticity. This type of exercises may also delay the progression of the disease making the Parkinsonian maximize his highest functional level.
In the 1980’s, the family of a patient with Parkinson’s disease named Lee Silverman, funded clinical research for a program to treat Parkinson’s disease related speech disorders. With additional support from the National Institute of Health, the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment LOUD program (LSVT LOUD) was developed to teach patients exercises to achieve a louder voice. The basis of LSVT BIG is derived from the same principles of LSVT LOUD and the standardized protocol for teaching LSVT BIG has been tested in randomized
control trials. These studies have shown that LSVT BIG participants walk faster with bigger steps, decrease their fall risk and fear of falling, increase their trunk rotation and ultimately improve their independence with daily activities. These improvements were maintained for at least three months post treatment. The results of these studies provide evidence that LSVT BIG is an effective technique to improve motor performance in patients with Parkinson’s disease.
LSVT BIG offers the field of rehabilitation one example of a standardized intervention for teaching Parkinson’s disease patients a method to take control of the progression of their disease. It is important to note, however, that LSVT BIG along with other exercise approaches should be initiated at the onset of diagnosis and not when individuals lose function and start to fall. Knowing that exercise augments the response to Parkinson’s disease medications should empower patients to seek therapy from a Parkinson exercise expert at the onset and thereafter throughout the disease progression to help patients maintain power over their Parkinson’s disease. To find an LSVT certified therapist or to obtain further information about LSVT, visit lsvtglobal.com or ask your neurologist for an LSVT referral.
Knowledge is definitely power! Knowing how important it is to exercise now you can definitely say, “I have Parkinson’s,but Parkinson’s does not have me.”
NB: LSVT is a trademark of LSVT Global, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.