Getting Physical to Get His Life Back after Parkinson’s Diagnosis

Before being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, John Salvador had been experiencing tremors, slower movement, sleepiness, loss of interest in maintaining his garden and difficulty getting into and out of vehicles due to stiffness in his legs. He also had trouble signing his name and had lost his ability to juggle.

In 2014, at an appointment with Dr. Randall Wright, a neurologist affiliated with Mischer Neuroscience Center at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a neurological condition that impacts an individual’s ability to produce and control body movement.

At the recommendation of Dr. Wright, John began physical therapy at TIRR Memorial Hermann The Woodlands. Working with physical therapist Nora Harrigan, part of his treatment included LSVT™-BIG, an intensive exercise based treatment focused on large movements for improved mobility, strength and balance. Over the course of 16 sessions, John made significant progress in walking safely and increased his mobility.

Thanks to Nora’s encouragement and homework assignments, John’s signature became legible and he was able to juggle again.

Nora also strongly encouraged John to be as physically active as possible. He continued to mow his lawn, tend to his extensive garden and volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. He also began walking five miles a day.

Following outpatient therapy, John began attending the monthly Parkinson’s Support Group at TIRR Memorial Hermann in The Woodlands. He enjoys going because the participants are friendly and the staff is supportive.

During the past year, John also began a non-contact, boxing-based fitness curriculum, and as a result, daily tasks like getting out of bed and getting dressed have become easier for John. Furthermore, his overall ability to function has improved and his movement has increased and gotten quicker.

Even though John is no longer driving, he remains physically active. He still walks daily, cuts his own grass and continues to grow a wide variety of vegetables in his garden.
For more information about resources for patients with Parkinson’s disease, visit neuro.memorialhermann.org/conditions-treatments/parkinson-s—movement-disorders/ and tirr.memorialhermann.org/programs-specialties/parkinsons-disease/.

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