October 30, 2013

Program offers hope for Parkinson's patients

COLUMBIA, Tenn. – An innovative new treatment for Parkinson’s patients is now being offered at Maury Regional Medical Center (MRMC).

The LSVT BIG program is a research based exercise program developed on principles from the Parkinson’s specific speech treatment LSVT LOUD. The 16-session treatment consists of individual one-hour sessions which take place over a period of four consecutive weeks. A team which includes occupational, physical and speech therapists oversees the rehabilitation process.

According to MRMC Physical Therapy Director Cindy Kington, the LVST BIG program includes daily homework lessons and carryover exercises which, coupled with the treatments, help patients increase their walking pace and stride while also improving balance and stability.

The LSVT LOUD and BIG programs were adopted by MRMC after a large need was seen for this population to get the most effective treatment and the best outcomes.

The LSVT BIG treatment program encourages intensive and high effort practice which over a period of four weeks produces normal movements that empower Parkinson’s patients with the potential to improve. Individuals with Parkinson’s are encouraged to begin the program as early in their diagnosis as possible. This will help establish a lifelong habit of improved communication and movement.

Studies indicate that nearly 90 percent of those with Parkinson’s will have speech problems starting early in the disease process. Common problems associated with it include mumbled or monotone speech as well as a soft or hoarse voice. These are typically not improved through medicines or neurosurgery. Treatment is the most effective way to improve speech and research has shown that the LSVT LOUD program has greatly enhanced the patients’ communication skills by improving both speech volume and intelligibility.

“The program has also helped to improve patients’ use of facial expressions and their overall confidence in communication with others. That’s not just a sign of physical recovery. It’s also an indicator that the patient is becoming more confident about his prognosis which is another very important factor in any patient’s rehabilitation,” said Kington.

To learn more about all of the rehabilitation services offered at Maury Regional Medical Center and its affiliates in Spring Hill, Chapel Hill, Lewisburg, Hohenwald and Waynesboro, call 931.380.4014 or visit