How your balance is impacted by PD
Updated: Nov 20, 2021
There are many factors that impact your balance. Your body reacts to balance challenges but using information your brain gets from your vision, inner ear (vestibular system), and sensory system (information from your body about your posture, what you are standing on, and how you are moving). Your ability to stay upright and not lose your balance is related to your brain's ability to take in all of this information and react to it.
In PD there are some additional factors that can impact your balance including:
- Rigidity: this can be a co contraction of muscles leading to trunk stiffness and forward flexed posture.
- Difficulty with reactive postural responses and anticipatory postural responses
- slowness to respond (bradykinesia)
- smaller anticipatory movements when you expect a balance challenge (hypokinesia)
- if someone bumps into you, those with PD have delayed timing of step, decreased step length, and the size of the step are smaller, this is seen in both "on" and "off" medication
- Increased use of the visual system and decreased use of the other systems. This is especially an issue if walking in an area that is not well lit or if you have to get up in the middle of night.
- Decreased body awareness and movement awareness
- Gait freezing
- small steps and lack of arm swing, small or multiple anticipatory postural adjustments
- difficulty with turning, changing environment, difficulty walking and talking
- decreased or lack of arm swing (this is an early marker to PD)
- reduced speed with turning, increased duration, increased number of steps, narrower base of support, head trunk and legs moving together (en bloc turn)
- Difficulty in being able to shift between activities or do 2 things at once (example walking and carrying on a conversation)
Feel like Come check out Liz's Brain and Balance class Tuesday's at 3 pm on zoom or Pre-recorded classes on youtube