New Parkinson's Therapy Comes To Lewis County

New Parkinson's Therapy Comes To Lewis County

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Sylvia Woodhouse was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease 22 years ago.

It's a condition which causes nerve cell damage in the brain and often introduces tremors, slow movement and loss of balance.

"Parkinson's is a very depressing disease if you let it get you down," said Woodhouse.

But, Woodhouse is proactive. For the last three years, she has gone to physical therapy, taking part in a commonly-used program for Parkinson's called LSVT, which stands for Lee Silverman Voice Treatment.

Until recently, she'd have to drive an hour for the treatment. But by spreading the word through her support group, LSVT will soon become available at Lewis County General Hospital.

"To help encourage people with Parkinson's to normalize movements that typically become smaller as the disease progresses," said Miranda Lehman, a physical therapist at the hospital. 

There are two parts to the therapy - movement and balance, and speech monitoring. People with Parkinson's may experience vocal changes over time.

"When they increase that vocal volume, that it's a natural feeling. They don't have to sort of shy away from certain situations because they fear they won't be heard," said Mary Kay Greene, a speech pathologist at the hospital.

Woodhouse says the extensive program has changed her life, and will do the same for others with the disease.

"It's important to remember you're not alone in this journey. It makes you feel alive and eager to do things," she said.

The therapy program will officially start at the hospital next week. It will meet four times a week for four weeks, each for an hour-long session.

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