Do you have Parkinson’s Disease; a progressive neurological disorder, balance problems, or do you know someone who does? Is it hard to get out of the house? Do you feel unsteady and unsafe? Do you feel like your world is caving in on you? Do you find that you catch your feet on carpet or shuffle to get from one place to the next? LSVT BIG is the program for you!! LSVT BIG is a world-wide, research based program that has been around since 1987, whose goal is to get people to use bigger movements automatically and have long-term carryover of increased amplitude for everyday living. It is a movement based program that focuses on three components for normalizing and improving movement and function.
The first part of LSVT BIG is using large amplitude movements. People with Parkinson’s Disease often shuffle when they walk, have a hard time getting dressed, get caught reaching into their coats, or cannot manipulate a button on a sweater. Movement becomes small and very difficult. LSVT BIG directly targets these small movements to work to help make them normal. It focuses on size of movement¬, encourages normal stride length, and effectively completing a daily task in a normal movement pattern. The second part of LSVT BIG is working at a high intensity and a maximum effort. This facilitates motor learning and improves neuroplasticity, which encourages improvement in life-long habits. The program is designed to use consecutive therapy visits, daily homework exercises, and carry over exercises to maximize effects. The final part of LSVT BIG is calibration. The ultimate goal would be to make the exercises and movements become the norm of how a person is moving and manipulating their environment.
Parkinson’s Disease, progressive neurological disorders, or balance problems can cause hypokinesia (reduced amplitude of movement) and bradykinesia (slowness of movement). However, these types of diseases or disorders are multi-dimensional and can also impact depression, loss of high level of cognitive function, dementia, bodily autonomic functions, sensory changes, emotional changes, and sleep disorders. The LSVT BIG program provides hope for a person to slow motor deterioration and improve quality of life. The goal is that the changes that are made with the LSVT BIG program become the person’s new norm. The principles that guide the change include specific high intensity, improved complexity of skills over time, specific repetitions, salient activities for the individual, the earlier the intervention the better, and training specific deficits to the individual.
The program is high energy, intense, protocol based treatment. LSVT BIG program consists of seven daily exercises, patient specific simple functional tasks, a patient specific high complex tasks, and walking BIG. It is designed to be four consecutive days for four weeks, with carryover exercises for home. All of the functional tasks are collaborated with the therapist to meet each individual’s goals and needs.
I have been LSVT BIG certified for four years. I have had the opportunity to work with some amazing people with Parkinson’s Disease and other neurological disorders. I have worked with individuals who have been diagnosed for many years to those people who I kick started the evaluation of their medical diagnosis. I have seen firsthand how the effects of the program can change a person and their family’s lives. It has enabled a Grandpa to go to Disney with his grandkids, a husband be able to get on the ground and fix a dishwasher, and a lady be able to get out of her house to go visit her daughter’s new house an hour away. All of these people would not have been able to do any of these things prior to going through LSVT BIG. Making people more independent, safe, and functional so they can enjoy their lives, spouse, grandchildren, friends, family, and hobbies for many more years is a pretty awesome thing. LSVT BIG is a life changer!
If you are interested in learning more about LSVT BIG visit our Caledonia clinic for a free consultation.