Jayne Rimer, Physical Therapy Assistant at Western Wisconsin Health, recently received her LSVT BIG certificate and is looking forward to putting her new knowledge and skills to work helping patients achieve health and happiness.

LSVT® BIG is an exercise treatment program for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD). It is based on the principle that the brain can learn and change (neuroplasticity). It has been formulated from an existing program to help with speech for people with PD called the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT).

The collective elements in LSVT BIG add up to a unique program that offers many positive results for people with Parkinson’s Disease. LSVT BIG treatment is delivered one-on-one and is tailored to each person’s own abilities and goals so that they work towards what’s meaningful to them. It requires (and can only be given by) and LSVT BIG Certified Clinician as part of prescribed physical or occupational therapy.

This holistic approach addresses not only movement issues, but also considers non-motor symptoms including emotional changes and cognitive changes. It helps people “recalibrate” to recognize when their movements are smaller or slower than they think. It’s designed to help people apply what they learn in treatment sessions to more comfortable, confident movements in everyday life beyond treatment sessions.

Sessions are based on the most effective, evidence-based strategies for learning and neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to change). It can lead to faster walking with bigger steps and arm swings, better balance and more ability to twist at the waist. Clinicians also report that LSVT BIG often helps people with buttoning their clothes, writing and other smaller-movement (“small motor”) tasks, as well as large (“large motor”) movement like dressing, getting up from a seat and getting into bed.

With exercises involving the whole-body-personalized for each person but all built around “Think BIG!” as a guiding principle, LSVT BIG reteaches you how normal movement should feel. Often times, these movements seem strange at first-too big, even thought they’re comparable to those of people all around you. Over time, you learn to recognize these larger movements as normal.

Ultimately, LSVT BIG helps to improve the mismatch between what you feel you’re doing and what you’re actually doing, making you more confident, comfortable and empowered. With one month of hard work, LSVT BIG can open doors to a more active and independent life.

Learn more about Rehabilitation Services at Western Wisconsin Health.