Parkinson's Movement
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Ritalin for gait freezing?

I've had PD for 18 years (I'm 52 now). Had DBS surgery 4 1/2 years ago. The physical symptom that still gives me the most trouble -- not helped by either the meds or the surgery -- is gait freezing, and subsequent falling. My MD just prescribed a low dosage of Ritalin for this, and I haven't filled It yet. I'm wondering if anyone else has had experience with Ritalin for gait freezing, or has heard about this?


6 Replies

I was given ritalin in 03 when my symptoms began.I took it for many many years and have wondered at going back for more energy. please give me an update if you do this. I think it would help. I was on a 3 times a day dosage of 5 milligrams each but didn't take any after 5 o'clock because I couldn't sleep if I did.

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thanks--i'll keep you posted!



Have no experience with the drug you mentioned. Do have some experience with festination which is similar to freeing. Come across another perspective, which I find very helpful. Ran across a DVD by Kevin Lockette named "MOVE IT!". It can be purchased direct from Kevin. Goggle "MOVE IT (DVD) Ohana Pacific Rehab Services".

He points out that the Straitum in our brains automatically controls our gait. sort of like in analogy, the automatic pilot controls the flight of an Airliner. Should the automatic control in either case fail, the automatic pilot needs to be disconnected and the Straitum providing automatic gait control (ignored). In both cases alternative conscious control needs to be implemented immediately. For the pilot, it means to take over and "hand" fly the airliner. For the PD Patient caught up in gait freezing, it means to automatically switch to Conscious Control for walking. His DVD also instructs in several alternative strategies to safely move through the freezing. I would strongly recommend that if you get this DVD, take it to a Physical Therapist to get some help in learning the Conscious Control for walking and having a safe place to learn alternative strategies.


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thanks --i'll look for the video

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Hi djbk. Have you tried conscious control of your walking?

You have two different methods of controlling your movements.

1. Subconscious control of walking, bringing food to the mouth etc.

2. Conscious control of any movements.

You learned how to walk many years ago and since then you have never had to think about how you managed to do it! Now, your brain has difficulty getting messages to your limbs with the result that they do not work.

You will find that you are still able to consciously lift a leg up in the air, either straight up in front or by bending the knee. Having done that, you will realize that you are actually able to consciously put your weight onto one leg then lift the other up off the ground and place the heel in front of you, and then do the same with the other leg. As long as you concentrate on doing that action you will continue to walk. But if you stop concentrating then you will go back to trying to WILL your legs to work. That no longer works properly, so get used to that fact and start practicing walking CONSCIOUSLY!

Give it a try and tell me how you got on with it.

Good luck John

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john-- thanks for the advice -- I've been working on exactly that w/ a trainer -- it does seem to be helping a bit.


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