Exercise As Medicine

For Paul, choosing therapy to manage his Parkinson’s symptoms was a "life-changing experience".

Erin Katzmark, DPT, physical therapist at Fairview Rehabilitation Services

When retired psychology professor Dr. Paul Olson was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease last year, he had a choice.

Since there is not yet a cure, he could manage his symptoms with medication or through rehabilitative therapy. Some patients initially choose both, but not Paul.

“I chose the therapy program at Fairview because many of the medications have side effects,” says Paul. “It was the right decision for me and my family, and a life-changing experience.”

Fairview therapists took Paul through BIG and LOUD, two separate four-week programs designed to manage Parkinson’s symptoms.

"Exercise is medicine," says Erin Katzmark, DPT, physical therapist at Fairview Rehabilitation Services in Burnsville, pictured. "Parkinson's disease is characterized by slowness of movement, rigidity in muscles, postural instability and tremor. Research has identified key principles that drive neuroplasticity and may slow disease progression. BIG applies these principles with intensive exercises for the limb motor system, and LOUD for the speech motor system."

Gifts to Fairview Foundation help Fairview therapists receive or renew their certifications in the BIG and LOUD therapy programs—a service that’s made a world of difference to Paul.

With increased energy, flexibility and strength from the skills he learned in the programs, Paul now practices on his own and feels an increased sense of well-being.

“In the future I may need medication, but for now I am enjoying standing tall, moving BIG and talking LOUD,” says Paul. “I am also more hopeful, because I have learned to better manage my disease. Hope, after all, is also healing.”
BIG and LOUD are part of Fairview rehabilitation therapy services and are funded in part by Fairview Foundation—help support these invaluable programs.

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