Physical and occupational therapy help Parkinson’s patients regain independence


According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, the disease impacts nearly one million people in the U.S. with 60,000 new cases reported every year. 

Parkinson’s affects the central nervous system, impairs the ability to move, and is often associated with tremors, which can also be an early symptom.

Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) has adapted to help patients gain mobility and enhance independence.

“LSVT helps to improve patients’ walking speed, balance, range of motion and strength,” said Trude Rodli-Culver, physical therapist and LSVT certified instructor at McLaren Rehabilitation Services. “This is so important for our patients, as it helps them increase their personal safety and improve quality of life.”

The program is intense and takes time and effort. The LSVT treatment program lasts four weeks and is made up of a variety of physical and occupational therapy exercises that use exaggerated movements and motion.

Parkinson’s disease attacks the central nervous system. It can start to limit a person’s ability to get up, walk and perform general activities of daily living. Symptoms worsen with progression of the disease, but the use of LSVT can help slow the progression by enhancing strength and mobility.

“This treatment is not a cure, but we definitely see improvements in patients’ day-to-day lives, even in those who are in the more sedentary stages of the disease,” said Rodli-Culver.

Rodli-Culver goes on to say the treatment can be modified to help every patient, but the sooner they start, the better the outcome.

After the program is completed, patients should continue to use the methods at home to maintain strength and mobility. Many patients report feeling as though they’ve gotten their lives back.

For information on the LSVT program at McLaren, call 517-975-3520.

Tags: Occupational Therapy, Parkinson's disease

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