Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder in which the levels of chemicals in the brain that help with movement and coordination decrease. Approximately 1 million people in the US have Parkinson's.
Common symptoms include tremor, stiff muscles, slow/limited movement (such as decreased arm swing and difficulty initiating movement from rest as when rising up from seated position), and difficulty with walking/balance due to tendency to take small steps and/or shuffling.
Research has shown that regular exercise improves flexibility, strength, balance and the ability to walk. Physical Therapists evaluate patients to develop exercise programs that will focus on these areas to improve the ability to perform activities of daily living and walking.
LSVT BIG is a standardized, research-based therapy protocol and is delivered by LSVT BIG certified physical therapists. It differs from other forms of therapy in that it focuses completely on amplitude of movement (big movements) in attempt to recalibrate the body to what "normal" movements should feel like.
LSVT BIG is an intensive program that is administered in 16 sessions over a single month to address the unique movement impairments for people with Parkinson's disease and there are 8 specific exercises all focused on core movements that are used in daily living. The outcomes include reduced fall risk, improved movement amplitude, ability to walk and quality of life.