Therapy Approaches To Parkinson's: Yell, Take Big Steps

Steve Miller
September 10, 2019 - 7:17 pm

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- People with Parkinson’s disease are taking advantage of a couple of different types of therapy that clinicians say are growing more popular.

At Northwest Community Hospital's outpatient center in Rolling Meadows, Parkinson's patients like 69-year-old Gail Mathein have been getting speech therapy called LOUD.

The speech of Parkinson's patients often fades to a whisper, and Mathein is taught to speak almost like she's screaming.

"It sounds normal to everyone else, but to me, it's like … screaming."

Bob and Gail Mathein (WBBM Newsradio)

Her husband, Bob Mathein, who's 82, says the voice therapy is boring, if effective. His wife had to go the LOUD therapy four times a week for a month.

"You make a commitment and you go for it,” he said. “There's a reward at the end. I don't always have to say, 'What?'"

The companion therapy is physical therapy called BIG, where patients are encouraged to take big steps so that they don’t end up shuffling.

Arvind Kotak's 75-year-old wife, Asha, has been in the BIG therapy program for three weeks. He said their friends say her face seems to light up now.

"It's all because of this therapy," he said.

Asha Kotak, right, works with a therapist on taking large steps. (WBBM Newsradio)