How Does Parkinson’s Disease Affects Balance?
WHAT IS PARKINSON DISEASE?
Parkinson Disease, also known as “shaking palsy” is a neuromuscular impairment that often lead to fall-related issues due to the progressive loss of muscle control that causes trembling of the limbs and head, stiffness, slowness, and impaired balance, making it gradually more difficult to walk, climb stairs, complete simple tasks or even talk.
Most individuals who develop Parkinson’s disease are 60 years of age or older, but early-onset Parkinson’s disease can occur.
BALANCE CHALLENGES IN PARKINSON’S
Parkinson disease can cause loss of reflexes needed to maintain an upright posture, causing some people with Parkinson’s to feel unstable while standing upright. This instability otherwise known as loss of balance, in turn, can increase their risk of falling.
Parkinson’s impact on the brain can cause delays in a person’s reaction time, speed of movements, and postural “righting reflexes.” (if your body sways off its base of support, it might take too long to “right” itself.) All of these increase the risk of falling.
Balance is a state of equilibrium. When you can control your body’s center of mass over its base of support, you remain upright and steady.
PHYSIOTHERAPY INTERVENTION IN BALANCE CHALLENGES IN PARKINSON’S
Although balance is one of the most vulnerable mechanisms, it is also one of the most re-trainable. With physiotherapy, you can improve your postural stability and even regain some of your automatic balance reflexes.
Starting physiotherapy early can help to slow Parkinson’s progression and symptom severity.
Here is a list of exercises for retraining balance challenges in Parkinson’s disease:
Hip abduction and Sit to stand (squat)
Strengthening core, legs, and hip muscles are the key components to gaining better balance. For people with Parkinson’s disease these exercises are extremely beneficial in helping minimize falls.
Standing hip abduction:
1. Stand beside a table or counter, and place one had on it for support.
2. Slowly lift your leg to the side.
3. Perform 8-12 repetitions for 3 sets.
Sit to stand (squat):
1. Place a chair against the wall
2. Stand up with your feet shoulder width apart (about 6 inches)
3. Lower yourself to a seated position. Make sure to keep weight evenly districted between each leg.
4. Slowly return to standing.
5. Perform 8-12 repetitions for 3 sets.
Consult with a physician or physical therapist before exercising on your own. Take breaks when needed and ensure to drink lots of water!
Static standing balance
It is one of the best balancing exercises for Parkinson disease.
Stand upright facing a chair or a table.
Standing with your feet shoulder dimension apart. Hold for thirty seconds.
Stand along with your feet together. Keep your body up upright. Hold for thirty seconds.
Stand with one foot ahead of the opposite, so your heel and toe are in line, keep your body upright and maintain your balance. Look straight ahead. Hold for thirty seconds.
Repeat with the opposite foot ahead.
Progress this exercise into a dynamic one.
Stand with your back against the wall with your feet far away.
Pull your body aloof from the wall using your leg strength, until your body is upright.
Slowly move your hips backward until it touches the wall once more than move your higher body to touch the wall. Your toes ought to carry up slightly throughout a movement.
Repeat ten times.
If you are having challenges managing your symptoms or you know someone who is, kindly reach out to us and we will be glad to help you through.