Think Big to Move Big- Parkinson’s Exercise Class

          Parkinsons disease is a disorder that affects the nerve cells in the part of the brain (substantia nigra) that helps control your body’s movement.  Symptoms of Parkinsons disease progress over time and initially the symptoms usually affect only one side of the body.  Symptoms often include:

·        Involuntary tremor

·        Muscle stiffness

·        Shuffling steps when walking

·        Decreased arm swing   

·        Impaired balance and coordination

·        Impaired voice quality


Daily exercise is one of the most important things that you can to do to help counteract the effects of Parkinsons disease.  Physical activity has been shown to increase blood flow to parts of the brain as well as to the muscles in your body.  It is now thought that exercise may help slow down the loss of nerve cells in the body making movement easier.


The focus of “Think Big to Move Big” exercise class is to improve mobility in individuals with Parkinsons disease.  When you have been diagnosed with Parkinsons disease, it is very important to stay moving and keep active in order to maintain optimal function.   This exercise class will help you:

·        Improve Strength

·        Decrease stiffness

·        Improve balance and walking

·        Decrease fall risk and improve safety

·        Bring together members of the community for discussion, fun activities, and education


“Think Big to Move Big” exercise class meets Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 11am at 3875 E. Overland Rd, Meridian.  Please call 489-5060 for further information or if you are interested in attending this exercise class. Try your first class free of charge.  Cost is $35 per month.


Living with Parkinson’s Disease: What Physical Therapy Can do for You!

Parkinson’s disease occurs when the brain does not produce enough dopamine, a chemical that is necessary to help your body control movement and coordination.  Because of the lack of dopamine, your muscles become stiff making many activities of daily living more challenging.   The most common symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include:

·        Muscle stiffness

·        Stooped Posture with shuffling steps when walking

·        Decreased arm swing   

·        Impaired balance

·        Involuntary tremor

·        Freezing

·        Impaired voice quality


The focus of Physical Therapy is to improve mobility in individuals with Parkinson’s disease.  When you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, it is very important to stay moving and keep active in order to maintain flexibility, improve posture and make movement easier overall.    Types of exercise include:

·    Stretching to help decrease muscle stiffness making movement easier. Your trunk often becomes stiff making it difficult to get in and out of bed.

·    Strengthening exercises to increase overall muscle strength to help will all activities of daily living

·    Gait training to help decrease risk for falls and improve ability to walk in all environments. Often during walking individuals have decreased arm swing and short shuffling steps

·    Balance and Posture training – to help improve overall posture, balance and decrease your risk for falling.  Improving posture can also improve back and neck pain.  Therapy helps your natural balance reactions to kick in and help you maintain your stability. 


Exercise has been shown to be very helpful in compensating for the changes brought on by this disease and improve performance overall.  The best time to take advantage of motor skill learning is early in the disease process.  Don’t forget to keep moving.


Jill Billing, PT, MBA

Neurological Rehabilitation Services

Talus Clinic 489-5060

Living with Multiple Sclerosis: What Speech Therapy Can do for You!

There is a common misconception that a speech-language pathologist only treats speech production and articulation.  However, when working with individuals with a neurological diagnosis, we target so much more.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) affects approximately 1 in 700 people or about 400,000 Americans with over 1,500 Idahoans diagnosed. Many people go without treatment or help because they don’t know or understand what can be done to help them on a personalized basis.

Speech-language pathology or speech therapy is designed to target a number of parameters that affect those persons with MS in all stages of the disease.




            -Exercises to strengthen and stretch facial muscles

            -Breath support/breath grouping

            -Compensatory devices or use of alternative communication methods if appropriate.


          -VitalStim® (electrical stimulation to swallow muscles)

            -Swallow strategies or use of modified utensils, posture, body positioning, etc

            -Diet Modifications

            -Exercise program to increase lip, tongue and throat muscles

-Voice Therapy

            -Increase loudness

            -Increase vocal stamina

            -Quality of Voice

-Lee Silverman Voice Treatment® (a treatment developed for people with Parkinson disease which has also been noted to improve voice quality in people with MS)

-Cognitive Therapy


            -Word finding

            -Occupational skills

            -Problem Solving


            -Processing skills, “clarity of thought”


Speech therapy is very individualized and treatment plans are established according to each person’s symptoms, goals and everyday needs.  Some therapy treatments require certification in those areas.  It is important to speak with your physician or neurologist to determine what treatments may be appropriate for you.  There may be hope and help waiting for you in a speech therapist near by.

Allison Berglund, MS, CCC-SLP

Talus Clinic, Meridian






Find Your Voice: Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT®)

Nearly every person (89%) with Parkinson disease will have problems with speech that start early in the disease process and progressively diminish quality of life:

·        Soft Voice

·        Mumbled speech

·        Monotone speech

·        Hoarse voice

·        Decreased vocal stamina

Medicine and surgery may dramatically improve the other symptoms of Parkinson disease, but they don’t help speech disorders. The only way to improve speech is by speech therapy.

The LSVT ® is an intense 1 hour a session, 4 times per week, 4 week course of therapy that teaches people with Parkinson disease to develop the strength required to speak at a normal vocal loudness. (may be modified to fit your schedule)

LSVT® teaches self-empowerment by improving the ability to communicate and thereby enhancing quality of life.

The strong theoretical and clinical research base behind LSVT® has demonstrated substantive results:

o       Improved vocal loudness

o       Improved intelligibility

o       More facial expression

o       Improved ability to swallow

o       Better neural functioning (PET)

For more information, visist: and to schedule an appointment, call 208.489.5060

Allison Berglund, MS, CCC-SLP