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Living Big: Occupational Therapy Gets Hiker Back on Trail

Patient Stories, Rehabilitation

When Kristi came to occupational therapy at Adventist Health Portland, she had problems with balance and suffered from occasional falls due to Parkinson’s disease. A passionate hiker, Kristi wanted to improve her confidence walking so she could get back out on the trail.

“My poor coordination prevented me from hiking challenging trails because I was unable to use my left walking stick,” she says.

Working with occupational therapist Linda Bright, OTR/L, Kristi began improving her balance and coordination to swing her left arm. Linda implemented LSVT-BIG therapy, an intensive one-on-one program for patients with Parkinson’s disease to improve both small and large motor skills.

Linda asked Kristi to bring her hiking poles to therapy so they could practice the motions together. “We even took field trips around the building so I could practice walking on various surfaces,” Kristi remembers. “I was gaining confidence because Linda let me become more independent by doing daily exercises.”

Now, Kristi says she no longer needs to run her finger along a wall when walking. She walks in a straight line, faster and with more confidence. “I no longer feel self-conscious. My left arm swings in rhythm with my right arm. Most importantly I can use walking sticks to hike — my passion!”

Kristi adds that Linda was amazing. “She is knowledgeable, patient and extremely creative,” Kristi says. “She tailored several tasks and exercises to my treatment goals.”

OT for a fuller life

What do you want to achieve? Our therapists care about understanding your personal goals for recovery and improvement after an injury or surgery. They partner with you to create a therapy plan customized for your lifestyle, goals and daily tasks.

Learn more about occupational therapy at Adventist Health Portland