What is Parkinson′s Disease?
Parkinson′s Disease (PD) is a rare chronic degenerative neurological disorder. In the body, there is a chemical called dopamine that transmits signals in the brain to coordinate movements. With Parkinson′s Disease, there is a loss of dopamine, making it difficult to control movement.
The most noticeable physical symptoms of PD are tremors, slowed movement, and stiffness or rigidity in body parts. Many patients also have difficulty with balance, have gait problems, such as feeling like their feet are stuck to the ground, shuffling their feet, and taking smaller steps, and a reduced facial expression. Many patients with Parkinson's also experience speech and swallowing difficulties, including soft, slurred speech. Other common symptoms may include cognitive impairment (ranging from mild to severe), mood disorders (depression and anxiety), constipation, difficulty sleeping, unexplained pain and loss of smell.
Over time, symptoms gradually appear and increase due to the loss of coordination during movement. It is also important to understand that there is a range of symptoms in Parkinson′s Disease. The symptoms experienced by each patient can be very different, as well as the pace at which the disease progresses.
Although there is currently no cure for Parkinson's, many patients can still participate in activities that are important to them and lead fulfilling lives with the help of various treatments. Treatment options include: surgical intervention, medications to manage symptoms, and physical, occupational, and speech therapy. Learn more about Parkinson's Disease management, or contact us with any questions you may have.
Improving Your Movement
Tremors and balance issues, the more noticeable symptoms of Parkinson's disease can also be improved through physical therapy. LSVT BIG® is a specialized program that focuses on improving the amplitude (“bigness”) of limb and body movement in individuals with Parkinson’s disease to provide a stronger stride, better balance, and increased trunk rotation. Patients are taught how to translate these strategies into the activities they enjoy. We have many physical and occupational therapists across our outpatient network who are certified by LSVT BIG.
Improving Your Voice
The Lee Silverman Voice Treatment, or LSVT LOUD®, is an intensive, evidence-based treatment program that focuses on improving voice quality in patient's with Parkinson's through vocal exercises. Baylor Scott & White Rehab has speech-language pathologists certified in LSVT LOUD who train patients to speak at a more normal loudness level to improve their ability to communicate effectively.
Loud For Life
After completing treatment, "graduates" of LSVT LOUD, can participate in our community-based group called "Loud for Life." Loud for Life group gives participants the opportunity to practice using their loud voices in a fun yet challenging environment in order to help maintain their communication skills long-term. The group is held at our McKinney – Lake Forest outpatient location and is lead by one of our own speech-language pathologists, Karen Riney. For more information about our Loud for Life group, please call Karen at 469.952.5082.
The LSVT LOUD & BIG Programs are available at many of our clinics throughout North and Central Texas. If you or a loved one could benefit from one or both of these programs, talk to your physician first as you will need a prescription from your doctor. Then call or email our Centralized Scheduling Office to find a location near you: 888.722.9567 | [email protected]. Learn more about Lee Silverman Voice Therapy (LSVT) at LSVTGlobal.com.
For information about the Loud For Life group that meets at our McKinney – Lake Forest location, call: 469.952.5082.
Loud For Life is Changing LivesTerry and Jim are both active members in our Loud for Life group. Both have Parkinson's disease, both struggled with their initial diagnosis. Now, they are living their lives to their fullest potential and are able to communicate better than they ever thought possible.
Kristi Kelley, MA, CCC-SLP
Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation – Dallas Neuro Hub
Karen Riney, CCC-SLP
Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation – McKinney Lake Forest