January 17, 2013

"BIG" Exercises for Parkinson's

Shortly after my Parkinson's diagnosis in late 2009, my neurologist gave me a prescription (the needed pass for getting my sessions covered by Medicare) for the BIG exercise program, designed for people with Parkinson’s by the same organization – Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) – that developed the LOUD speech therapy for people with PD. The BIG program incorporates some of the features of the voice program, like shouting out your exercise counts in a strong voice. If you are interested in finding someone to work with on either of these programs, go to the LSVT home page and click on the “Find a Clinician” button.

The BIG physical therapy program is pretty intense and probably works best for those in the early stages of PD. It also requires a commitment of four weeks, with one-hour training sessions twice a week.

I was doing fine with this programs, and stuck with it because I could clearly see it was a BIG help. Then came the August 2011 car crash and the resultant lower back pain that still troubles me. I used that discomfort as an excuse to stop taking my daily walks and doing my BIG exercises. I paid a big price for the neglect.

Fortunately, my neurologist at my regular November checkup gave me a new physical therapy prescription, suggesting I use it for a refresher course on the BIG exercises and to strengthen my core muscles. I'm just a few weeks into the new PT program, and I'm already seeing BIG results.

My physical therapist suggested we use my iPhone to record the BIG exercises. Then I'd transfer the videos to my computer for future reference.

With great misgivings, I've decided to post the videos. Jane Fonda I'm not!

1.  Floor to Ceiling


2.  Side to Side


3. Step and Reach -- Forward


4. Step and Reach -- Sideways


5. Rock and Reach -- Forwards/Backwards


6. Stop and Take a Bow


Well, once again, I've managed to embarrass myself.
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