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Physical Therapy and Parkinson’s Disease

Did you know…therapy is medicine! This is especially true for those with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease.

My name is Amanda Wilson, a physical therapist at Altru who specializes in the treatment of people with neurological diagnoses, including Parkinson’s Disease. Physical therapy can be a part of your plan of care for living your best life by helping treat some symptoms and managing others.


Parkinson’s Disease decreases dopamine levels in your brain and this change causes people to use smaller movements like shuffling while walking. These smaller movements increase the risk of falling or tripping. Other symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease can include, tremor, slowed movement, rigid muscles, impaired posture/balance, loss of automatic movements, speech changes and writing changes.

LSVT BIG is an evidenced-based physical or occupational therapy treatment program, which was specifically developed to treat people with Parkinson’s Disease. This program is a patient-specific, intensive and amplitude focused therapy program. It involves 16 therapy sessions with a certified LSVT BIG therapist, completed over 4 weeks, with 4 days of therapy each week.

This intensity of therapy is what helps to drive the neuro re-education, or retraining of the brain, for “BIG” movement. Essentially, retraining the body to move BIG instead of small for improved function and safety. There is a similar program called LSVT LOUD for patients needing speech therapy services.

If you are interested in participating in LSVT BIG or have more questions about it, talk to your doctor for a referral to physical therapy. Altru will work with you to improve the daily activities that are challenging for you so you can regain control of your life.