Freezing in Parkinson’s disease is essentially a motor block which happens suddenly. Parkinson’s disease freeze is characterized by a brief moment of inability to start movement or even continue repeated movements which may be rhythmic in nature like writing, walking and so on. It has been seen that freezing mostly affects the patient’s ability to walk. It can also act as an obstacle for a patient to open or close his eyes. Parkinson’s disease freeze develops at later stages of the disease.
Freezing in Parkinson’s disease can cause an extremely disabling effect on the patient. It affects a person’s ability to walk causing the person stop as if his feet are glued to the floor. It can occur anytime and at any place. Parkinson’s disease freeze results in quite injurious falls and even fracture at times. Its frequency increases if the patient is under stress or suffers from anxiety.
What Situations Can Trigger An Episode Of Freezing In Parkinson’s Disease?
Patients with Parkinson’s disease and their care givers should be cautious about situations like-
Sudden Walking: Freezing episodes tend to happen often when the patient tries to initiate a movement like walking from standing.
Doorways and Turing Points: Freezing is seen to be common while the patient is walking through the doorways or turning points. It may also occur while stepping from one type of surface to another like from tile to carpet.
Multi-Tasking: Freezing can be triggered if the patient tries to multi-task while walking.
Stress: Occurrence of freezing may also increase in case of stressful situations or when a person is surrounded by crowd.
How to Manage Freezing In Parkinson’s Disease?
The patient with Parkinson’s disease should keep certain points in mind-
Inform the Doctor: It is extremely important to let the doctor know when the patient encounters episodes of freezing in Parkinson’s disease. The doctor may adjust the patient’s treatment protocol if need be.
Physical Therapy: The patient may ask the doctor about physical therapy as techniques in such a form of therapy help reduce the risks of falling occurring due to freezing.
Occupational Therapy: The doctor may recommend the patient to an occupational therapist. He can help patients with exercises that may help reduce stiffness and immobility.
How Should A Care-Giver Manage An Episode Of Freezing In A Patient With Parkinson’s Disease?
The role of a care-giver in helping patients with Parkinson’s disease is extremely important-
No Panic: The care-giver should try to remain calm in case of an episode of freezing. The patient should not be pushed or pulled during the freezing episode.
Physical Support: In case the patient is unable to move the care-giver can try placing his/her foot perpendicular to the patient, so that the latter can step over it for support.
Help in Counting: The care-giver should encourage the patient to try marching or counting during the freeze period.
Feedback: The care-giver should talk to the doctor with respect to an occupational or physical therapy.
What to Remember Regarding Freezing In Parkinson’s Disease?
Patients and care givers should be aware of the strategies to prepare for freezing in Parkinson’s disease-
- The caregiver of the patient should take care that the patient should not face any stressful situation.
- Marching and goose stepping can help control episodes of freezing.
- While walking, the patient can try shifting the body weight from one leg to another in order to avoid episodes of freezing.
- The patient can try stepping with rhythm on the floor. This can prevent sudden episode of freezing.
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