“Poor posture is a hallmark feature of Parkinson’s disease. This stooped positioning has been associated with increased muscle rigidity or stiffness. The typical Parkinson’s posture includes: forward head, rounded shoulders, increased thoracic kyphosis, increased flexion of the trunk, and bending of the knees.”
How can poor posture affect you?
- Difficulty speaking clearly and loudly
- Difficulty with moving your neck and upper extremities
- Change your perception of your body’s position in space
- Can alter balance and lead to falls from having your weight shifted forward
- Decrease strength of postural muscles
- Headaches and TMJ pain
- Difficulty swallowing
(Meredith Defranco, “Parkinson’s Treatment Tips” published March 1, 2012, Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases at University of Florida Health)
A May 22, 2019 article in Parkinson’s News Today offers insight into assessment results from a controlled study that utilized a four-week trunk-specific, posture-correcting rehabilitation program: “Forward bending of the spine, known as disease-related forward trunk flexion (FTF), is a common complication observed in patients with Parkinson’s disease. FTF can result in permanent postural imbalance, pain, frequent falls, and irreversible deformities. Early detection and rehabilitation efforts through focused physical therapy can help in reducing pain and delay motor symptoms progression. However, information is limited on FTF rehabilitative efforts in Parkinson’s patients.” – Vijaya Iyer Read more here
If you can relate to others who experience episodes of having your feet “freeze” in place while you’re on your way elsewhere, you likely also have postural instability, meaning your balance is impaired. Quoting from an online article from the Parkinson Foundation, “…these symptoms can cause falling, resulting in a multitude of injuries, a loss of personal freedom, caregiver stress and a reduction in the quality of life (Pirker & Katzenschlager, 2017; Samotus, Parrent, & Jog, 2018). …Current PD medications, therapies or surgical procedures do not effectively address this debilitating unmet need. This lack of options might be changing, due to an intervention called spinal cord stimulation (SCS).”
Information contained in the study is so worth reading and discussing with your movement specialist or neurologist. Don’t pass this by! The results of this study may provide a new gateway to a new “gait way”! READ MORE HERE
Quoting information provided in a Michael J. Fox Foundation Foxfeed blog post titled “Ask the MD: Music as Medicine for the Mind”…
“In certain diseases, like Parkinson’s, the brain rhythm in the circuit controlling movement gets off track. …Playing music exercises the mind and body. It provides a route for social interaction. In drawing someone into its rhythm, it can calm a resting tremor, break a freezing spell and bring gait into a more normal pattern. Music can boost memory, lessen depression, and improve the volume and tone of speech.” (https://www.michaeljfox.org/foundation/news-detail.php?music-as-medicine-for-the-mind)
Join our new MedRhythms 8-week neurologic percussion series beginning on Wednesday afternoons from 1-2 PM at the Danvers Community YMCA starting May 1st! Beat a combination of drums, smack a boomwacker, shake maracas…and SO much more! The series is limited to 30 people – take a chance on something new, motivating, beneficial, and fun. Register early by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to be part of this pilot opportunity here in our area!
Freezing in place while walking, often to the point of losing balance and falling, is a fairly regular occurrence for many people living with Parkinson’s.
Read this really interesting Dutch research about experimental but promising “laser-light shoes”. Many of us are aware of assistive devices that incorporate laser lights (walkers, for instance) to break freezes. Keep “stepping” up in learning about not only what causes freezing, but what’s being created to lessen the challenge it presents.