Living With Parkinson’s Disease: Life After Diagnosis

By Shelly Hampton, Physical Therapist, and Jodi Knight, Speech Therapist

You’re going about your daily life, then you start to feel “off”. You may start to notice a tremor, generalized fatigue, difficulty swallowing, or hoarseness in your voice. Your friends and family start to ask, “What did you say?” “Can you speak up?” “You’re shaky, do you feel ok?”. If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, you’ve heard and felt these things time and time again.

Receiving a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease can be scary. You instantly start to compare yourself to others. Will I be able to live a normal life? Can I still play with my grandchildren? Will I still have a voice? These fears are absolutely normal, as a lot of individuals can receive a diagnosis at a young age. Luckily, there is hope for very effective treatments to maintain and improve your quality of life.

Treatment starts with a combination of medication along with physical/speech therapy. Medication can effectively reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, but it can’t improve your strength or voice. The Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT Big and Loud) is a therapy driven approach to specifically help those affected by Parkinson’s Disease. This approach is specifically designed to retrain your brain to produce big and loud movements to improve your ability to walk, talk, and maintain your independence in daily life. In just 30 days, you can reverse the symptoms associated with Parkinson’s Disease, and return to doing enjoyable daily activities with confidence.

Getting started on this program is quite easy. You just need to discuss these concerns with your doctor, and they will write an order for therapy. You can receive these services right at Southwest Health! Shelly Hampton (Physical Therapist) and Jodi Knight (Speech Therapist) are certified to provide LSVT Big and Loud Services. This program can be adapted to meet the needs of almost everyone, but early treatment is key. Call your doctor or the Rehab Department at 608.342.4748 today if you have questions, or think this program is right for you!

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