Freezing and festination solution

If, like me, you struggle to initiate that first walking step and spend hours a day finding strategies to get moving or if, like me, that freezing turns into festination so that your feet hammer up and down on the spot like a pair of demented sewing machines, as you frantically try to move forward to gain control of your teetering body which hasn't got the message that your legs are lagging behind in this whole body team effort we call walking and that any second now you are in for an undignified crash landing, then I have good news for you. I have found a way to get started and it is reliable - yes it works every time.

I discovered a long time ago that I could walk backwards quite confidently. The problem with this strategy is that your eyes are at the wrong side of your head and your feet are facing the wrong way. In a light hearted contemplation, I considered wearing my clothes backwards and fitting miniature reversing mirrors on my specs. But I concluded that progress backwards with bemused stares from passers by was better than no progress at all.

Then suddenly it dawned on me. If starting walking backwards was not a problem, then could I use this technique to help me move forward. The answer is, yes you can

Here is how it is done. It's very simple. Stand facing in completely the opposite direction to which you intend to travel .Take a step backwards, twist your body through 180 degrees and take your second step in the direction you want to go, then just carry on forwards with big confident steps. It's very simple.. And you'll find you are walking forward quite normally. It even works to get you into a running action. Good luck.

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  • Sorry but really!!!!!!!!!!!

    I can't walk very well now and don;t think it would work for me. But having said that it suits you so good luck with it.

  • a physical therapist had me try a similar technique - take the first step backwards, allow myself to rock a little backwards and then forwards and bring the next step forwards, It also works for me most of the time.

  • That works for me too rch21 and is easier than my spin turn. Thanks for that. Any more ideas or strategies?

  • I fall scores of times a day. I can't walk at all without crutches. It works for me but I am sure not everyone will want to try it.

  • I start to fall but catch myself somehow. I've learned lots of techniques in my PD classes: Alexander Technique, NIA, movement and dance by Pamela Quinn (google her).

  • I have been doing a variety of exercises and techniques to catch myself from falling, as well. Physical Therapy was quite helpful in outlining a set of these for me and I keep doing them and increasing the difficulty little by little. Ican still be knocked over by a 3 year old, but do fine with no crowd, clear light and a smooth path. Oddly, once I get moving fast (race walking or running) it is less an issue. I do use a cane in any crowded or dark situation for balance though.

  • Once I get going, I am fine and walk or run endlessly until I meet an obstacle which stops me, then I have to go through my start up procedure again. The secret is to compose yourself before you attempt to step forward. Stand tall, straighten your knees and back and take your time. My past gymnastics skill have stood me in good stead for taking the sting out of falling. It's a joke amongst my family and friends that I can fall with a glass of wine in my hand and half way down place the glass carefully on the coffee table before I complete my fall.

    There is a problem with getting good at not falling. You miss opportunities to raise awareness about Parkinson's. Last week

    my carrier bag of shopping burst open as I crossed a busy road and in the confusion I fell. The traffic screeched to a halt and everyone rushed to my aid. I thanked everyone profusely then did an impromptu speech about Parkinson's. I convinced them that I was OK, that I hadn't had a stroke, that I wasn't drunk, that I was fit to drive and that this showy behaviour is normal for me and isn't a problem.

  • Thanks rch21, you're technique seems to work fairly well. I find stepping back as far as possible helps the most.

  • Has anyone tried APOKYN for freezing ? It is an injection with an epi pen and within 10 minutes I am up and going . I am so very thankful it has given me my life back I could barely walk used walker and walking stick could not drive and now I am able to function some what normal . I work 40 hours a week . A nurse from Apokyn comes to your Dr. office and shows you how to administer the injection . I can not say enough good things that it has done for me .Keep on moving !

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