The “shaking palsy” that physician James Parkinson identified more than 200 years ago is not always easy to diagnose. That’s because symptoms of Parkinson’s disease may appear slowly, in no particular order, and may vary from patient to patient. Early symptoms may be subtle and may progress over many years before reaching a point where they interfere with normal daily activities.
Symptoms Are More Than Just Shaking
Tremors, stiffness or rigidity of the limbs and trunk, slowness of movement and problems with balance and coordination are the most obvious symptoms. But there are many other symptoms that may also be indicators of PD, such as difficulty rising from a chair, lack of facial expression, painful foot cramps, depression or emotional changes (fearfulness and insecurity), skin problems and increased sweating to name a few.
How Specialized Therapies Can Help
The tremors, stiff movements and speech and swallowing impairments associated with Parkinson’s disease can make sufferers feel isolated and alone, but thanks to a specialized program offered through Methodist Therapy Services in Oak Ridge, there is help to lessen those frustrations.
LSVT “LOUD” is a program developed by LSVT® Global, which offers innovative treatment for speech communication, as well as physical and occupational therapy for individuals with Parkinson’s disease. The “LOUD” program and its movement-focused counterpart, “BIG,” are both offered through Methodist Therapy Services. Patients work with speech and physical therapists who have received specialized certifications in the programs. In addition to Parkinson’s, the BIG program can be used to treat a multitude of neurologically based movement disorders.
What to Expect From Treatment
As Parkinson’s disease progresses, patients become more stiff and rigid. Movements such as handwriting and steps become smaller. Therapists teach a series of exercises which help improve balance, strength, flexibility and gait. Exaggerated movements are used to improved functional tasks as well.
Patients come for four visits per week over a period of four consecutive weeks with the goal of having them perform exercises both at Methodist Therapy and at home. After 16 visits, the goal is that movements become more instinctive and patients automatically take bigger steps and use louder vocal volumes. Patients should also notice a great improvement in their ability to perform functional tasks.
Likewise, the LOUD program teaches patients to utilize the muscles of breathing and voicing to increase vocal volumes. Added benefits are improved inflection, intelligibility, facial expressions and improved swallowing.
The BIG and LOUD therapies are not cures for Parkinson’s disease, but they can significantly improve function as the disease progresses. This alone can be life-changing for patients with Parkinson’s disease.
How to Learn More
For more information about Methodist Therapy Services, click here or call (865) 835-3370. For patient testimonials to see how LSVT BIG or LOUD can help you or your loved ones you can visit www.lsvtglobal.com.