Improving balance in Parkinson’s disease

Lack of body balance is one of the cardinal symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. This is because the disease affects the basal ganglia which is the brain part that controls body balance. Without body balance, Parkinson’s patients are likely to have trouble walking or standing still for long. They are likely to have lots of accidental falls.

In this article, I will be exploring how they can improve their body balance. Let’s get down to it.

  1. Exercise

There are many body exercises that Parkinson’s patients can do to increase their body balance. Studies have shown that indeed exercises can help in reducing falls as well as improving body balance. In this video, some of the exercises have been explored.

They include:

  • Standing still in one position, in an upright position for several seconds.
  • Raising one leg while the other is transfixed on the ground for a few seconds. Repeating the same with the other leg.
  • Walking such that the front part of one foot touches the heel of the foot infront.
  • Leaning on the wall while standing and using your legs to push your body from this position. Going back to the same position and repeating that exercise for a number of times.

2. Using assistive while walking

While walking, you could use assistive devices such as laser canes, standard walkers or even the wheeled models that help you in maintaining body balance and stability. The good thing with assistive devices is that they may as well act as sensory cues that prompt you to make the next step while walking and therefore reduce gait freezing.

3. Taking drugs that help with controlling Parkinson’s symptoms

Drugs such as levodopa (Sinemet) have been shown to curb some of the Parkinson’s symptoms such as tremors, muscle stiffness and gait freezing.

4. Deep brain stimulation

In extreme cases and where it can still be done, some patients have opted for deep brain stimulation surgery that helps with curbing the Parkinson’s symptoms.