MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. -- For Phil Grimaldi, giving up just isn't in his DNA. A retired NYPD officer, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease several years ago. After learning of his prognosis, rather than shrinking from the disease and quietly succumbing, Grimaldi answered the challenge the only way he knew how: to fight it head-on.
Empowered by the LVST BIG program at Northern Westchester Hospital, Grimaldi is working to mitigate the physical side effects of the neurological disorder. "I came to the program because I was afraid of [my Parkinson's] getting worse, and had to do something about it," said Grimaldi. "I felt that just taking the medication was not enough."
LSVT BIG is an approach to exercise therapy intended to help patients use bigger movements throughout daily life. Rather than waiting until Parkinson’s limits movement -- which it does to nearly 90 percent of patients -- LSVT BIG promotes exercise-based therapy to develop healthy habits. These include workouts designed to improve balance, expand range of flexibility and normalize motions.
"The whole idea of the program is based on the fact that your brain can change," said Kathy Giaccio, a physical therapist and LSVT certified clinician. "We're recalibrating and resizing [patients'] movements to make it feel normal."
Walking, bending and stretching his way to a better life, Grimaldi has been amazed by the program's results. The trademark shuffling, slow walking and imbalance that often come with Parkinson's are counteracted by the BIG program, allowing him to fight hard against the disease. "With Parkinson's, you go BIG or go home," he said.
To learn more about the LSVT BIG program visit Northern Westchester Hospital Rehab.