Parkinson’s is a disease that affects the central nervous system, impairs the ability to move, and is often associated with tremors — which can be a symptom. According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, this disease impacts nearly one million people in the U.S., and 60,000 new cases are reported every year. Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) has been adapted to help Parkinson’s patients gain mobility and enhance independence.
Therapeutic treatment plans often take time and effort, and this is true of LSVT. The program lasts four weeks (four days/week, one hour/day) and consists of a variety of physical and occupational therapy exercises using exaggerated movement and motions. Treatment is individualized to meet the needs of each patient; once the treatment ends, patients must continue to practice what they learned at home to achieve the best results.
“LSVT helps to improve patients’ walking speed, balance, range of motion, and strength,” said Trude Rodli-Culver, Physical Therapist and LSVT-certified instructor at McLaren Rehabilitation Services. “This is so important for our patients, as it helps them to increase their personal safety and improve quality of life.”
As Parkinson’s disease attacks the central nervous system, it can begin to limit a person’s ability to get up, walk around, and perform activities of daily living. As the disease advances, symptoms can worsen; however, the use of LSVT can help to mitigate this progression by enhancing strength and mobility.
“This treatment is not a cure, but we definitely see improvement in patients’ day-to-day lives, even in those who are in the more sedentary stages of the disease,” said Rodli-Culver. “The treatment can be modified to help every patient, but the sooner you start, the better the outcome.”
Once the four-week program has been completed, patients should still practice the exercises at home daily, to keep the strength and mobility they have gained.
“It is amazing to see the progress patients have made, and to watch them gain in confidence, as well,” said Rodli-Culver. “Many of our patients report feeling as if they’ve gotten their lives back. We love watching their improvement each day.”
For more information on the LSVT program, contact McLaren Rehabilitation Services at