In the United States each year, physicians diagnose up to 60,000 new cases of Parkinson’s disease (PD), adding to the one million people who are affected by it. HealthSouth Nittany Valley Rehabilitation Hospital offers extensive treatments for those with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and other neurological conditions.
HealthSouth’s Outpatient Therapy Clinics in Pleasant Gap and Lewistown offer Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT®) BIG, and LVST LOUD, developed by LSVT Global Inc. The programs are intensive physical, occupational and speech therapy programs designed to improve many aspects of movement and speech.
LSVT BIG for Improved Movement
LSVT BIG helps patients learn how to avoid inactivity and keep movements alive from day to day. It uses the principles of practice in exercise, promoting strength and motor learning. Through consistent training with a LSVT BIG certified physical or occupational therapist, patients can experience the following improvements:
- Faster walking and bigger steps
- Better balance
- Increased torso rotation
- Improved confidence
- Restored hope
Treatment is provided in 16 sessions over a single month (four individual 60-minute sessions per week). This protocol was developed specifically to address the unique movement impairments for people with PD.
Dean Auman, 68, of Spring Mills recently completed the LSVT BIG program at the HealthSouth Outpatient Clinic in Pleasant Gap. Dean has Parkinsonism; symptoms are similar to that of Parkinson’s disease.
Dean’s wife, Bonnie, explains: “Dean shuffled his feet, and used small movements,” she says. “We talked to our neurologist, and decided to try the LSVT BIG program.”
“I was amazed at the difference in Dean, almost from the very beginning of the program,” she says. “He is walking faster, standing taller, and reaching higher!”
Physical Therapist Mary Gorham worked with Dean to help him improve his movements. “When Dean completed the program, his balance scores improved significantly, and so did his gait speed.”
LSVT LOUD for Improved Speech
Approximately 89 percent of people with Parkinson’s disease have problems with speech, progressively diminishing quality of life. Common speech problems include a hoarse voice, monotone speech, mumbled speech and a soft voice.
LSVT LOUD improves vocal loudness by stimulating the muscles of the voice box (larynx) and speech mechanism through exercises. Focused on a single goal, “speak LOUD,” the treatment improves respiratory, laryngeal and articulatory function to maximize speech intelligibility.
The treatment does not train people for shouting or yelling; LSVT LOUD uses loudness training to bring the voice to an improved, healthy vocal loudness with no strain. Similar to LSVT BIG, treatment is administered in 16 sessions over a single month.
Documented improvements with LSVT LOUD therapy include:
- Improved vocal loudness
- Improved speech intelligibility
- Improved swallowing ability
- Increased facial expression
- Increased confidence
- Positive impact on neural functioning (PET)
Recently, LSVT LOUD has been applied to select individuals with stroke, multiple sclerosis, Down syndrome, and cerebral palsy with positive outcomes.
HealthSouth’s inpatient Parkinson’s rehabilitation program has earned a Disease-Specific Care Certification by the Joint Commission. Some Parkinson’s patients transition from inpatient rehabilitation at the Pleasant Gap hospital to outpatient therapy, enrolling in one of the LSVT programs in order to further improve their symptoms.
LSVT BIG and LSVT LOUD are offered at HealthSouth’s Outpatient Clinic Pleasant Gap:
550 W. College Ave.
Pleasant Gap, PA 16823
LSVT LOUD is offered at HealthSouth’s Outpatient Clinic in Lewistown:
105 First Ave.
Burnham, PA 17009