Going Big Helps Dubs Overcome Movement Challenges
December 06, 2016
Dorothy Dubs performs a set of seated exercises using exaggerated movements to help improve her sensory perception as part of LSVT BIG® therapy with Marie Langbehn, an occupational therapist at HRMC. (2nd photo) Langbehn times Dubs in the Box and Blocks Test assess her coordination as part of the evaluation process.
HURON, S.D. – A few years ago when Dorothy Dubs began experiencing trouble with walking and using her arms, she wasn’t sure what was causing the issues.
Dubs first noticed the symptoms in 2012 and they got worse after she took a tumble off of a step ladder. “That fall set me back quite a bit. I experienced a concussion and afterwards I started noticing my posture was worse and I was just slower all around,” said Dubs.
As her mobility and coordination issues continued, she shared her concerns with Dr. Gregory Wiedel, her physician who is an internist with Tschetter & Hohm Clinic.
“I honestly thought my troubles with dragging my feet and movement were a result of mini strokes,” explained Dubs. “Dr. Wiedel suspected I was suffering from a neurological condition and recommended LSVT BIG® therapy at Huron Regional Medical Center.”
LSVT BIG®, which is based on techniques used in Lee Silverman Voice Therapy LOUD®, is designed to train patients in bigger than normal limb and body movement to help improve speed, balance and quality of life. Dubs first met with Susan Fuerst, a physical therapist, and Marie Langbehn, an occupational therapist, who are both certified in LSVT BIG®, in March of this year.
“This therapy helps patients retrain their brains and bodies to make the expansive movements many have lost due to impaired sensory awareness of their own movements due to neurological conditions,” said Fuerst. “When we first started working with Dorothy, walking speed, arm use and dressing were her biggest areas of concern.”
With the help of her therapists, Dubs set goals that included posture, dressing, writing and equal use of both arms. She participated in a variety of exercises 60 minutes per day, four days a week, for four weeks. She also exercised at home two times per day during the program.
“Dorothy selected tasks she was having difficulty with to help us understand her goals,” explained Langbehn. “That helped Susan and I design a program tailored specifically to her individual needs.”
“I really appreciated that the therapy is personalized and Susan and Marie, along with Therapy Assistants Saren Kahre and Katie Nohr, were so encouraging,” said Dubs. “I also liked that they were willing to work around my schedule.”
After going through the therapy program, Dubs noticed improvement in her ability to walk more quickly and improved ease of performing daily living activities like baking, dressing and getting in and out of her vehicle.
“The staff also helped me by making posters with the word ‘BIG’ for me to hang up around my home to remind me to make my movements bigger,” said Dubs. “I also purchased a DVD which I use once a week at home to keep me honest in doing the exercises regularly.”
Dubs recently graduated from a three-session “tune up” in which Fuerst and Langbehn helped her to refresh her knowledge and practice of the home exercises she learned in the program.
“Dorothy has been doing great in her progress. This refresher will help to ensure she continues to experience a good quality of life without movement difficulties,” said Fuerst.
“I am very grateful for the improvements I’ve experienced through this program which help me maintain my independence,” said Dubs. “I would encourage anyone who is struggling with movement or slowing down to talk with your doctor and see if you might benefit from therapy.”
October is Physical Therapy Month and HRMC is celebrating by educating the community on the benefits of physical therapy in all areas of life. This year’s theme “Don’t Just Mask the Pain,” focuses on reducing the overuse and abuse of prescription pain medications by first exploring physical therapy to reduce and eliminate and pain.
For more information about HRMC's LSVT BIG® program, ask your provider to refer you to HRMC rehabilitation services or call (605) 353-6253. More information about therapy services at HRMC is available online at www.huronregional.org/services/rehabilitation.
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