New Therapeutic Options for Individuals with Parkinson

October 22, 2013

The Helen Hayes Hospital Outpatient Neurology Department is pleased to announce the start of two new treatment programs for patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. LSVT BIG and LSVT LOUD, and Parkinson’s Wellness Recovery (PWR) can both help individuals living with Parkinson’s Disease lead an improved quality of life.

Named for its founder Lee Silverman, LSVT BIG and LSVT LOUD are research-based therapy protocols that address two of the main symptoms associated with Parkinson’s: functional mobility and speech output.

LSVT BIG addresses movement impairments by using increased amplitude limb and body movement with intensive and high effort training, along with sensory calibration, in order to increase a patient’s functional movement, balance, speed, and quality of life. The patient mimics the therapist during intensive, complex and repetitive core movements that are used in daily living.

Although techniques are specific to Parkinson’s Disease deficits (bradykinesia/hypokinesia and kinesthetic awareness), they can also be be helpful for patients with other neurological disorders. LSVT BIG has been documented to be effective in improving independence with activities of daily living, and increasing safety, walking, balance and quality of life.

LSVT LOUD is an effective speech treatment that improves vocal loudness, intonation and voice quality. The therapy is also effective in managing disordered articulation, diminished facial expression and impaired swallowing. It uses enhancement of sound and articulation to bring the voice to an improved, healthy vocal loudness with no strain.

The LSVT protocols requires certified therapists to provide this training. The Helen Hayes Hospital Outpatient Neurology Department presently has an LSVT certified Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist and Speech Therapist. The LSVT intensive protocol calls for four consecutive days of treatment, consisting of 60-minute sessions, for four weeks. However, if a patient is not appropriate for the program, they are still given physical, occupational and/or speech therapy and trained using amplitude based theories in order to increase the patient’s functional status, safety, and/or to decrease caregiver burden.

Additionally, we have recently added Parkinson Wellness Recovery (PWR), which is a wellness program, where Parkinson’s patients receive research-based exercise programming that is neuroplasticity-principled. Such programming holds the promise of slowing disease progression, restoring motor function, and increasing longevity and quality of life.

If you have interest or questions concerning any of the LSVT or PWR programs, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us at 1-845-786-4306.

-Jodi A. Brangaccio, DPT
Unit Coordinator for Physical Therapy
Outpatient Neurology/Pediatric Rehab Center