What are the techniques to reduce walking disorders?

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  • There are over 200,000 people living with Parkinson’s disease in France.
  • It causes tremors at rest, slows in movement and can hinder walking.
  • Regular physical activity is beneficial for patients with the disease.

Parkinson’s disease is often known for the tremors it produces, but this neurodegenerative pathology can cause a variety of disorders, including disorders related to walking. There are ways to reduce the impact of these disorders on the activities of those affected. Dutch researchers have researched this topic, which is published in the journal neuroscience, From the American Association of Neurology.

disabling disorders on a daily basis

More than 4,000 people with Parkinson’s disease were interviewed as part of this research. All suffered from walking disorders such as imbalance, falls or blockages. Of them, 35% believed that their difficulty in walking was an obstacle to their daily activities. More than half had had one or more falls in the year before the study.

What are the possible strategies to avoid them?

We know that people with Parkinson’s disease often unintentionally invent “dizziness” in order to overcome their difficulty in walking, in order to stay active and independent.But there are seven strategies known to make life easier for patients. One of them is to create internal benchmarks, such as counting back in your head. Also setting external benchmarks, such as the metronome Possible. The third is based on the modification of the need for balance by making wide turns, for example. This can also include working the mind with relaxation techniques. Finally, focusing on observation, watching someone move, adaptation It is also possible to change the way they walk, walk backwards, or use the legs while cycling.

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Strategies insufficiently known to patients

As part of the study, the scientists asked participants if they had ever heard of these seven strategies, and whether they had used them. They found that people with Parkinson’s disease commonly use compensatory walking techniques, but are not aware of these specific seven strategies. 17% of people had never heard of any of these strategies and only 4% knew all seven. On average, each person knew three. Still, when they tried one of them, participants generally acknowledged that it had a positive effect in reducing their disorders.

effectiveness that depends on context

The researchers found that the strategies worked differently depending on the context in which the person was using them. For example, motion visualization had a success rate of 83% when people used it to move around outside, compared to 55% when they used it to move around a narrow space. “Our results suggest that the “one size fits all” approach does not work, because different strategies may be needed for different contexts, or because individuals only respond better to one strategy than to another.”, concluded Anouk Toserams.

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