Parkinson's Treatment & LSVT
The Southern Indiana Rehab Hospital Parkinson’s Disease
Program provides each patient with a comprehensive team
of Nurses, Physical, Occupational and Speech Language
therapists who address issues of mobility, balance, self-care,
speech intelligibility and swallowing. Psychology may be
incorporated to assist patients with coping. Comprehensive
assessments help determine the treatment program unique
to each patient’s individual needs. Working closely with the
patient’s physician and family, a treatment plan is developed
and goals established.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is characterized
• Tremor of a limb when resting
• Slowness of movement also known as bradykinesia
• Rigidity or stiffness of the limbs or trunk
• Poor balance
• Shuffling gait
• Impaired speech intelligibility (dysarthria)
• Swallowing impairment (dysphagia)
Initially, symptoms may be
variable with a combination of
tremor, slow movements, rigidity and balance problems.
Symptoms usually start on one side of the body but
gradually extend to the entire body. Changes are also seen
in facial expression which is often referred to as the patient
having a blank expression and showing little emotion. As
symptoms progress gradually, older patients may believe
these changes are due to aging.
Patients with Parkinson’s disease may need comprehensive
inpatient services if they experience a decline in their
medical status resulting in hospitalization. Intensive
therapy, medical management and rehab nursing staff
work together with the patient and family to assist the
patient in achieving their optimum functional outcome.
The goal is to be discharged safely home returning for
outpatient therapy sessions.
LSVT Big® is an intensive outpatient
for those individuals with Parkinson’s disease and other
neurological conditions. The goal of LSVT Big is to teach
patients an improved way of moving in everyday life so that
common movements provide continuous exercise. This
program uses the philosophy that larger amplitude, whole
body, functional movements will train the individual for
carryover of faster walking with bigger steps, improved
balance and increased trunk rotation.
LSVT Loud®is an intensive
therapy program designed to improve vocal loudness
by stimulating the muscles of the voice box (larynx).
Exercises progress through a hierarchy of challenge
focused on the single goal of having the patient speak
loudly. The treatment improves the muscles of the
respiratory system, the laryngeal system, and the oral
motor system resulting in improved speech intelligibility.
By strengthening the muscle systems, the patient may also
see benefit in improved swallowing function.
When Should Therapy Begin?
Therapy should begin
early after the diagnosis of
Parkinson’s disease. People with PD rarely seek rehab
treatment until their disability has impaired their
function, usually characterized by the loss of balance,
difficulty swallowing, or impaired speech intelligibility.
Even though medications are very effective early on at
alleviating most of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease,
research suggests that you should not wait until you begin
to experience problems to begin treatment.