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Parkinson’s Disease Treatment

Parkinson’s disease affects nearly one million people in the United States and is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s. It is a chronic, progressive neurologic condition that affects certain nerve cells in the brain. These cells produce a neurotransmitter called dopamine. As a person’s dopamine levels decrease, their movements become increasingly uncoordinated. The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include:

  • Resting tremor
  • Bradykinesia — a term that means slow movement
  • Stiff, rigid limbs
  • Small handwriting
  • Decreased facial expression
  • Soft speech
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Balance issues
  • A slow, shuffling gait

Parkinson’s disease may affect other neurotransmitters and parts of the brain, and some people may experience additional symptoms like lightheadedness, constipation, dementia, depression, and sleep disturbances.

Managing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease involves a specialized approach to rehabilitation as the disease progresses. People may need a combination of physical, occupational, and speech therapy, based on their individual symptoms.

Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease

To help people living with Parkinson’s better navigate and manage the symptoms of their disease, Community Memorial offers the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment Big and Loud programs.

What is Lee Silverman Voice Treatment?

Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) develops innovative treatment protocols for people with Parkinson’s disease and then provides special training to physical, occupational, and speech therapists so they can successfully implement the treatment protocols to enhance the lives of their patients.

LSVT’s Big and Loud programs have been researched and developed over the last 25 years. Both programs are supported by extensive research and have been proved to be effective for real patients in a variety of clinical settings.

Lee Silverman Voice Treatment — Big

As Parkinson’s disease progresses, many people experience a “shrinking” of their movements. Their steps become shorter, movements are slower and more subtle, and everyday tasks take longer. Designed to help keep movements “big,” the LSVT Big program at Community Memorial is facilitated by our LSVT certified physical and occupational therapists. The program helps Parkinson’s patients:

  • Walk faster and take bigger steps
  • Improve balance
  • Increase rotation of the core/trunk
  • Better perform activities of daily living (such as showering, dressing, and bed mobility)
  • Improve gross motor skills

Lee Silverman Voice Treatment — Loud

Many people with Parkinson’s also experience changes in their speech, including difficulty articulating words and an overall lowering of voice volume. The goal of LSVT Loud is to help mitigate these symptoms. Our LSVT certified speech therapists help people with Parkinson’s:

  • Increase vocal loudness
  • Improve articulation and speech intelligibility
  • Gain control over facial expressions
  • Improve intonation
  • Adapt neural functioning related to voice and speech

What to Expect

LSVT Big and Loud programs are offered on an outpatient basis at Community Memorial Hospital – Ventura. Both programs include:

  • A customized treatment plan tailored to the patient’s challenges and goals
  • 16 sessions (four consecutive days per week for four consecutive weeks)
  • Individual one-hour sessions
  • Daily homework practice
  • Daily carryover exercises

If you or a loved one has Parkinson’s disease and is interested in the LSVT Big and Loud programs, contact the Community Memorial Rehabilitation at 805-948-5063 for more information on how to enroll.