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  • Writer's pictureEngage PT, OT, SLP Therapy and Wellness

How to Thaw a Freeze

Updated: Nov 20, 2021

Freezing is a common symptom for those with Parkinson's Disease (PD). Do you ever feel like your feet are super glued to the floor when you are trying to walk? Do you ever feel like you know what you want to say but can't get the words out? You are not alone.

Last week we reviewed what freezing is, why it may happen along with common triggers. This week we will go over some helpful strategies to get you moving after a freeze.

Here are some strategies that may work for you:

  • Try another movement – raise an arm, touch your head, point to the ceiling; then re-start

  • Change direction: if you can’t move forward, try stepping sideways first, and then go forward

  • Walk with gusto and purpose. Standing tall can help set you up for success.

  • Imagine a line in front of you to step over. If there are specific areas of your home that are triggers you may want to use a bright piece of electrical tape to provide the visual cue.

  • Carry a laser pointer in your pocket; when you freeze – shine the laser in front of your foot and step on the light – this visual cue can help you re-start.

  • March in place a few times and then step forward

  • Don’t fight the freeze – shift your attention from moving the legs to moving the arms – then resume walking forward

  • Use of music, humming or counting (count 1,2,3 go and then step forward). Use of a metronome (you wear one on your belt or use a free app on your phone). There are a variety of free apps that you can download to use on a smart device. Pro Metronome, Metro Timer, Real Metronome, Metronome+

  • There are assistive devices available that have a laser pointer built in.

Try the the 4 S s to thaw a freeze

1. Stop

2. Stand Tall

3. Sway side to side

4. Step with your sticky foot

As with any motor or non motor symptom associated with Parkinson's Disease it is helpful to discuss this with your neurologist and develop specific strategies with your physical or occupational therapist. Performing therapy combining movement and cognitive tasks can be beneficial to work on developing effective strategies.

We hope these tips and tricks keep you moving!

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