Freezing

Hi just wanted to know how everyone copes with freezing? If there is anyway to help movement I’ve tried lines on the floor and trying to count to 3 but not working. My dad has started freezing for longer periods and can’t feel his body so he panics and gets really upset which I’ve never seen him like ever

HI @MissK

I am sure people will share their experiences with you, in the meantime have a look at the information on our website which may help - https://www.parkinsons.org.uk/information-and-support/freezing. Also it may be worth speaking to the parkinsons nurse or GP and ask for a referal to physio therapy and/or occupational therapy.

Kind regards

Sue - Moderation team.

Hello
Sorry to be a bit slow in replying to your post, my feet freeze too. It can be very stressful and I can entirely understand your dad’s panic because it does feel like you’re never going to move again. I use several different techniques but first of all
it helped when I realised that certain situations were more likely to cause it. Mostly when I had to rush, such as to answer the phone or when I wasn’t concentrating on moving eg when carrying a cup and concentrating on the table I am heading for not moving. It’s not infallible, it can take me by surprise but it helps for eg: there is a level crossing by me and I check the time to be sure I can get across before the warnings start as they will stop me, I don’t use escalators but lifts or stairs to remove the risk, I keep a phone close by, if expecting a delivery and know the time I’ll stay near the door or watch for them coming and set off for the door before the bell rings. All these sorts of things minimiase the risk by reducing the fear of what might happen. Also people get to know like the postman and regular couriers who wait for me to get to the door. This may help your dad. Specifically I find looking ahead to where I am heading rather than look down at my feet is the most useful. Swinging both arms back and forth a few times also seems to propel me forward as does using a stick or two if close enough to grab it - I don’t use one indoors usually - look straight through doorways which are notorious stopping points and having the same flooring throughout at home helps too. Concentrating on walking and not anything else is key and probably the hardest thing to do. I’m not afraid to tell anyone to ‘shut up’ although perhaps not so bluntly so that I can concentrate. Personally I don’t find lines or counting very effective although counting with a sing song voice does sometimes work. I also try to think of it as something that is normal for me and treat it as such so if I stop in a shop I’ll just say sorry got to wait for my feet to move. Like most things to do with Parkinson’s I have found half the battle is with yourself and how I choose to perceive something. Hope something in that lot helps. It is difficult and a real issue as risk of falls may be increased. I hope he finds a way to live with it a little more peaceably at least for some of the time.

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Hi @MissK This is also my biggest problem,which has resulted in many falls over the past 18 months.I do tend to shuffle and taking the first step needs an enormous effort of concentration
I have had home visits from specialist Physiotherapists and have tried all of the usual tricks to no avail.My Neurologist explained it as a breakdown of the message generated by the brain and sent via the nervous system to the various muscles and ligaments etc.controlling the initial movement. He also arranged a walker with a built in seat which does help outdoors but it is too cumbersome for use at home.
I realise none of this helps your Dad other than to highlight he is not alone and I understand how it feels, the panic and sheer frustration especially when it results in a fall.
This is what I do now
1 Try and move away slowly and be aware of doorways
2 Try and start with one foot already ahead of the other
3 Keep your weight more on your heels rather than on your toes
4 Avoid clutter and situations where you need to walk backwards
5 Try and stand as tall as possible and look ahead not at your feet
6 Avoid carrying things in both hands make two trips.Always have one hand free.

I am sorry MissK but it will not resolve your dad’s situation but it may help him.
Its the way I have to live every time I take a step from a standing start

Humpty Dumpty :grinning:

MalcT

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Hello MalcT, forgot about avoiding clutter which I tend to think of as having a clear path so pleased to see it in your reply and basically agree with all you say. At the moment I have a avoided falls due to my feet stopping but I hope you haven’t sustained serious injury. I wish you well with living with Parkinson’s unwanted gift – he has a small victory in stopping us dead ours is a bigger victory since he can only manage a temporary stop; it may take some effort, frustrating and not without risk but as long as we keep coming back we’re doing ok!

Hi there, We have a walking group and always show attendees the trick of someone putting a foot across the front of the PwP who has frozen. This usually has the result of tricking the brain into lifting the foot because it has recognised an impediment and so the walking movement is resumed. It sometimes helps if another of the group reaches out a hand and the action of reaching out to take that also released the freeze. Another of our group has a walking stick with a light beam which shines across in front of the feet with the same result as above. Hope that helps your Dad.

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Hi there!
lots of helpful hints from lots of people.

I thought I’d share what my Mum used to do. she would create a picture in her head of her walking somewhere she liked (she used to think about walking across the Yorkshire moors), and that seemed to help.

Either because thinking about moving can trigger moving…or because it calmed her and focused her thoughts on something other than being stressed about not walking.

My husband sticks mainly when he has to move backwards so in the house we have had had handholds installed where he needs to step away from something backwards. When he has hold of something he is able to move backwards

Hi Missk
I’m not sure if you still follow this conversation but in case you do, I would say that other contributors provided really excellent advice and various techniques. Unfortunately the nuture of freezing is fully understood by scientists so there is no 100 % effective solution to it. The most common strategy is to try cueing strategies: internal (best) or external once. In general we try visual, auditory, cognitive and proprioceptive cues. Stress has an impact too, and desire to move quickly. To keep it short I usually advise to try 4S strategy:

  • stop ( stop trying to move) ,
    *stand ( place your feet flat , heels down, balanced position),
    *sway ( shift your body weight from left to right or forward backwards depending on feet position, be carefull if balance issues) ,
    *step (shift to one side and try big overexagerated step.
    You should also identify triggers for freezing: activity, space and time e.g. first step, turning, in the middle of open space, narrow passages, doorframes, rushing to get somewhere, time of the day and medication. The best shot is to try various techniques and see what works. Different things can work on different days though, it is good to have a good selection of cues to try one by one if needed. It can also help with managing stress when it happens as you have your tool to try and no need to panic.
    When you identify triggers for freezing you can try to practice good movement/ walking in this condition to reprogram your brain.
    Michal
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