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Contributions by Megan Mar, PT, DPT at Complete Balance Solutions - Seal Beach

The Importance of Readiness - Interview with M.R. 

M.R. was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease more than a year ago; however, they only recently accepted the diagnosis and was now willing to try physical therapy for the first time. M.R. sought physical therapy with me specifically via LSVT Certified Clinician Search, because I am a certified LSVT BIG Physical Therapist. LSVT BIG is a research-based approach for movement training, particularly helpful for those affected by Parkinson’s Disease. According to their website, “The treatment improves walking, self-care and other tasks by helping people ‘recalibrate’ how they perceive their movements with what others actually see”.  Additionally, LSVT LOUD is their effective speech treatment for people with Parkinson's disease (PD) and other neurological conditions. 

M.R.’s readiness to participate in physical therapy, willingness to learn more about the diagnosis, and consistency with the home exercises contributed to their excellent progress.  

 

Q: How has physical therapy helped you with issues related to Parkinson's Disease? 

A: Physical therapy emphasized my limitations and showed me how to overcome them using LVST methodology, BIG & LOUD.  Big movements and repetition does work on motor skills.  

 

Q: What would you say to someone with Parkinson's Disease who is starting physical therapy for the first time? 

A: Before starting physical therapy, you need to be totally committed to making this work, acceptance of the disease.  The mind plays a major part in the success of the therapy.  Commitment to do the exercises at home daily, starting a committed lifestyle is all parts of the solution. 

 

Q: What was most enjoyable during your physical therapy sessions? 

A: Seeing weekly progress made on each repetitive exercise and mastering new tasks. 

 

Q: Is there anything else you'd like to share or you think would be helpful for people to know about Parkinson's Disease and/or physical therapy? 

A: Parkinson’s has motor and non-motor symptoms.  Your mind and body need to be able to work together.  Exercise helps to slow the process, keep moving. 

 

 

Complete Balance Solutions Seal Beach, CA: Pictured is one of our patients undergoing gait and aerobic training with our treadmill harness, along with a device to monitor heart rate and oxygen saturation for cardiac function. 

 

No Longer “Stuck” - Interview with D.M. 

D.M. was referred to physical therapy by a doctor to address shuffling gait (walking with shuffling, dragging steps), related to Parkinson’s Disease. Although they walked with shuffling steps, D.M. was independent with all activities in the home and in the community. Early diagnosis and referral by their doctor was an important step to successful improvements. 

 

Q: Prior to starting physical therapy, what were some issues you experienced related to Parkinson's Disease, and how did physical therapy help? 

A: My main issues were a shuffled walk and "getting stuck", both of which are essentially gone since PT [physical therapy]. Haven't gotten stuck in months, ungainly walk only occasionally now. 

 

Q: Do the improvements last once you stop physical therapy? 

A: Better than that! I've continued with the LSVT exercises, and continued to see improvements since completing PT. 

 

Q: What can someone expect when starting physical therapy? 

A: I think the main thing at the start for me was an illustration of my clumsiness. So naturally I was a bit self-conscious about it. Happily, that didn't last long, due mostly to your encouragement and the quick results I saw. 

 

Q: What was most enjoyable during your physical therapy sessions? 

A: I guess my record is stuck, but it's a toss-up between your helpfulness and encouragement and the visibility of the results. 

         

Q: What was most challenging during your physical therapy sessions? 

A: That's easy for me. I never quite got comfortable on the treadmill -- but at the same time, I felt very safe the whole time. 

 

Q: Is there anything else you'd like to share or you think would be helpful for people to know about Parkinson's Disease and/or physical therapy? 

A: I guess I was lucky to get my diagnosis early and PT right away. I came away thinking there's a lot of life still to live, and that PD will play only a small role in most of it. 

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