September 2015

Horizon Rehabilitation & Sports Medicine

Author: Cassie Cochrane, PT, DPT, NCS

How would you feel if you couldn’t control or move your body the same way you’ve done for your entire life? Frustrated, tired, and defeated would probably spring to mind. As a physical therapist, these are just some of the emotions my patients express when I first sit down with them to discuss their concerns. My entire focus is returning them to full mobility, and the first steps include a complete evaluation of why my patients cannot move in the way they need to move and how to go about improving that. Only then can I create a treatment program to help them accomplish their goals.

One recent patient, David DeLoach, was referred to me about a year ago for treatment incorporating the LSVT BIG therapy program, a protocol specifically designed for patients with Parkinson’s disease. David had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s about eight months prior, and his symptoms were beginning to interfere with his everyday life. He was starting to shuffle when walking, often catching his left foot on the floor, and having a hard time using his left hand for fine motor tasks. David’s disease was also starting to interfere with his work. Counting money from beach parking meters and manipulating tools in his facilities maintenance job for the Town of Hilton Head Island were proving to become more and more difficult.

Using the LSVT BIG regimen, David and I worked together to formulate his therapy goals and outline a treatment plan that would help him get around more efficiently. We first focused on learning a set of whole-body large amplitude exercises that, with daily practice, help him maximize his range of motion and overcome the smallness of his current movements.

After perfecting the large scale exercises, we spent the remainder of his treatment time on repetitive and varied practice of the functional activities that gave him most difficulty: walking over a variety of surfaces and obstacles, working with nuts and bolts, and performing a variety of fine motor tasks with his left hand.

By the end of his four weeks of physical therapy, David was no longer shuffling when he walked! He was also more adept using his left hand, and, most important, he was dedicated to practicing his home exercises on a daily basis.

Creating a personalized therapy program for patients like David is something we excel at here at Horizon Rehabilitation. By doing so, we are able to see big changes in patients’ physical movements and get them back to fuller, more engaged lives. 

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