Parkinson's sufferers can benefit from 7 walking strategies

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Elia Tabuenca García
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Research has identified 7 strategies to help Parkinson's patients improve mobility and walking problems

Research has identified 7 strategies to help Parkinson's patients improve mobility and walking problems

People with Parkinson's have difficulty walking, but a new study has identified 7 strategies to improve walking ability in patients with the disease. The research was published on September 8, 2021, in the online issue of Neurology. (Also Read: Parkinson's Disease: 10 Most Common Symptoms)

A systematic review

The study found that how different compensation strategies work depends on the context in which they are used, such as indoors or outdoors. The researchers interviewed 4.324 people with Parkinson's and disability in the walk; this included problems such as imbalance, falling, staggering and freezing. Of the participants, 35% found that walking difficulties affected their ability to perform normal daily activities, and 52% had one or more falls in the past year.

The investigation identified the seven main strategies for improving movement of these patients. It is about:

  • internal cues, such as walking while counting in mind
  • external cues, such as walking to the beat of a metronome
  • change the balance requirement, such as making wider curves
  • altered mental status, which includes relaxation techniques
  • observation of action and motor imagination, which includes watching another person walk
  • adapt a new walking pattern, such as jumping or walking backwards
  • other forms of using the legs, such as cycling and crawling.

Each category was explained, and participants were asked if they knew about it, if they had ever used it, and if so, how it worked for them in a variety of contexts.

Researchers found that people with Parkinson's commonly use gait compensation strategies, but I'm not aware of all seven strategies. For example, 17% of people had never heard of any of these strategies, while 23% had never tried them. Only 4% were aware of all seven categories. (Read also: If you notice this while walking, it could be an early sign of Parkinson's)

In addition to the use of aids and alternatives to walking, the best known strategy was the external signal, such as listening to a metronome, known by 47% of the interviewees. This was followed by internal signals, known by 45%; observation of action and motor imagination were the least known categories, about 14%.

For each strategy, most people said they saw a positive effect; for example, 76% said they had improved the balance. However, the researchers also found that the strategies worked differently, depending on the context in which they were used. The internal signal, for example, seemed very effective during the initiation of gait, with a 73% success rate.

Only 47% found this tactic helpful when trying to stop walking. Similarly, motion visualization had an 83% success rate, but only when people used it while walking outdoors, while it had a 55% success rate when people used it to move around a space. restricted.

The results

I results Research, therefore, suggests that a one-size-fits-all approach does not work for everyone, because different contexts may require different strategies or simply because individuals respond better to one strategy than another.

The researchers' goal is to go one step further, that is teach people all available pay strategies, for example through a dedicated online educational platform. This can help every person with Parkinson's find the strategy that works best for them.

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Photos: AAN

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