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Freezing

As Parkinson’s progresses, "freezing" can become a safety challenge

What is freezing?

  • Freezing is the temporary, involuntary inability to move.
  • Freezing can occur at any time. For example, your feet may seem to stick to the floor, or you may be unable to get up from a chair.
  • Some people are more likely to have freezing episodes than others.
  • Some freezing happens when the person with Parkinson’s is due for the next dose of dopaminergic medications. This is called “off” freezing. Usually, the freezing episodes lessen after taking the medicine.
  • The cause of freezing is unknown.

Freezing and falls

  • About 38 percent of people with Parkinson’s fall each year. Falls in PD occur mostly when turning or changing directions and are often related to a freezing episode.
  • Not all people with PD experience freezing episodes, but those who do are at a much higher risk of falling.
  • Freezing creates a danger of falling because the beginning and end of a freezing episode are unpredictable.
  • The unpredictability of freezing, along with efforts by well-meaning companions to force the person with PD to move, may cause loss of balance and falls.

Tricks to help you get over a freezing episode

  • March.
  • Shift your body weight from one leg to another.
  • Listen to rhythmic music, and step with the beat.
  • Step over an imaginary line in front of you.
  • Use a mobile laser device that creates a line for you to step over.