January 2023 - West Texas Rehab

What is LSVT BIG and what does it have to do with helping Parkinson’s patients?

LSVT BIG (Lee Silverman Voice Treatment) is a specific treatment regimen that was developed after it was shown that specific cues for patients that deal with Parkinson’s Disease helped to address their voice deficits. Some of the most commonly shared symptoms of movement with Parkinson’s Disease involve freezing or festinating gait (shuffling), smaller overall movements with upper and lower extremities, and rigidity of joints- specifically with trunk movement. With Parkinson’s Disease, the patient’s internal comparator (basal ganglia) is thrown off due to the decrease in overall dopamine, which is the neurotransmitter within the body that helps this part of the brain work properly. This leads to many symptoms, including those listed above. With LSVT BIG, the therapist helps the patient utilize EXTERNAL cues to help improve their overall movement. Since the patient’s internal system is not working properly, it is crucial that the patient understands that their movement is smaller than intended and that in order to produce normal movement, they need to move BIG. This is a very common cue that is used within LSVT BIG which signals the patient to make bigger movements with their arms, legs, and with the way they move their whole body throughout the day. With constant feedback and constant practice, patients going through this treatment are able to learn to produce better movement, which can help their quality of life and safety with improved overall gait speed and stability.

by Brady Holcomb, PT, DPT

More about Brady:

My wife Leslie Ann and I moved from Lubbock to Abilene in August of 2019 when I accepted a position at West Texas Rehab Center. I received my Bachelor’s of Science in Exercise Sports Science from Lubbock Christian University and a Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Harding University. After graduating from physical therapy school in 2018, I was provided the opportunity to practice in rural health in outpatient orthopedics before coming to Abilene. I have a passion for serving rural communities, and still see that passion being fulfilled in serving the people who live in and around the Abilene area. I have a special interest in Parkinson’s Disease after being certified in LSVT BIG and getting the chance to work with patients dealing with this disease process. I am also certified in Dry Needling and have an interest in orthopedics, specifically in treating a variety of shoulder injuries. In addition, I am currently pursuing additional certification to be an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist. My hobbies outside of work include road and mountain biking, hiking and running with my wife and my sheepadoodle Gimli, and also playing the guitar and the banjo.