A Must Read for Those With Loved Ones Affected by Parkinson’s Disease

A Must Read for Those With Loved Ones Affected by Parkinson’s Disease

Written by Kayla Uhlenhake, Staff Therapist at our Scott Blvd location. Kayla has advanced certification in the LSVT Big Parkinson’s Program.

When people hear Parkinson’s Disease (PD) they tend to think of Michael J Fox or Muhammad Ali. People usually picture the tremors and shuffled gait. When people are diagnosed with PD or Parkinsonism a million questions can come to mind. What does this mean for me? How will this affect my life? What can I do about it? Well I have some answers for you.

What is it? Parkinson’s Disease is a nervous system disorder that affects our bodies’ movements. There’s a chemical in our brain that tells us when to start and stop moving. With PD that chemical is not produced correctly, which affects our movements, including walking, writing, and even talking. Common symptoms that tend to be early indicators for PD include:

  • Tremors
  • Masked face
  • Soft voice
  • Smaller writing
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Trouble walking or moving

Other common symptoms and deficits associated with PD can range from loss of smell to drooling and constipation. Additional movement deficits that tend to occur consist of stiffness, cramping, stooped posture, and freezing when walking.

What can we do about it? Treatments can include medications as well as surgery depending on the symptoms of the specific person. However, Physical therapy is one of the answers! Here at PRA we have a therapy program specifically for patients who have PD. LSVT Big is a research-based therapy program that focuses on the addressing the common deficits associated with PD. Through high effort exercises we can re-train the brain to remember how big daily movements should be.

How is LSVT Big different from typical physical therapy you ask? LSVT Big an intensive therapy program that spans over 4 weeks. Although the changes are gradual and may not be detecablt each day, by the end of the program, most patients are really able to note the differences in function. These benefits include improved balance, faster walking with bigger steps, increased trunk mobility, and improvements with activities of daily living.

So next time you or someone you know is diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, don’t sweat it! Instead call PRA and let’s sweat with some exercise! Let’s get up and walking with LSVT Big and address those symptoms of PD as quickly as we can.

Photo Credit: Boston Globe