Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects the basal ganglia within the brain. The basal ganglia work with other systems to improve movement coordination, scaling, and accuracy. When Parkinson’s disease is present, the basal ganglia lose the amount of dopamine that they have. Loss of dopamine affects the basal ganglia’s ability to create the stop or go signals to coordinate movement. This leads to frequent freezing episodes, smaller movements, balance deficits, and frequently a resting tremor. Due to these symptoms and the nature of the disease, external cues or more of a kinetic sense is required in order to move properly with bigger more normal movements.
How can we help?
We have a therapist who is certified in the LSVT big program for treatment of Parkinson’s and other hypokinetic neurological disorders. This is a highly intensive training program which improves overall fitness, endurance, and the ability to use external cues for bigger movements. It focuses on performing bigger movements during exercising to improve the bodies kinesthetic sense (or your body’s ability to feel what normal movement is like). This program has shown great outcomes in both the short and long term. Therapy can also target posture and balance, both of which are commonly affected by this condition.
Exercise should be used as the first line of defense before medications begin to be added for the treatment of the condition. The body eventually becomes resistant to medication and higher doses are required when this happens. Exercise can help to decrease the amount of medication used due to your body learning how to move more normally through the LSVT program.
If you or anyone you know has this condition or other neurological conditions causing smaller than normal movements, give us a call and set up an appointment for an evaluation to see if physical therapy is the right fit!