Valerie Johnson, DPT on Exercise for Parkinson’s Disease

Archive for March, 2018

Valerie Johnson, DPT on Exercise for Parkinson’s Disease

Posted on: March 28th, 2018

This post was written by Valerie Johnson

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Simple Unfreezing Techniques for Parkinson’s Disease

Posted on: March 21st, 2018

This post was written by Valerie Johnson


Hello everybody!

Let’s start with something simple, shall we?

Learn five Simple unfreezing techniques for Parkinson’s and enjoy your new found freedom.

Freezing can be an unpleasant symptom of Parkinson’s disease. One out 3 people with Parkinson’s report having episodes where their feet feel “stuck” to the floor when walking, especially when changing surfaces or directions and walking through the threshold of a door. People also experience freezing when attempting to get up from a chair because their seat feels like it is stuck to the chair. Freezing is more likely to occur during multitasking or distractions, and worsens with increased fatigue, anxiety, or depression. Thankfully, there are some very effective strategies for getting unstuck.

The 5 S Method is a great way to get unstuck during a freezing episode.

1st) STOP– Stop fighting your fussy feet. The more you fight it, the worse it gets.

2nd) STAND TALL– Shift your weight back onto your feet until your back is flat.

3rd) SHAKE IT OFF– Calm down.

4th) SHIFT WEIGHT– All the way from one foot to the other until you lean so far that one foot comes unstuck from the ground. Move your hips back and forth if your standing. It you’re sitting, shift your shoulders back and forth.

5th) STEP– Take a huge step forward and strike your heel! If standing from a chair, make a large pushing/ reaching motion with your hands as you rise.


More Bonus Strategies: Remember, it takes practice!

  1. Count down from 5 (5-4-3-2-1 STEP!)
  2. Look forward and choose a target. Estimate how many steps it will take you to get there. Take a big first step and hit with you heel.
  3. Use music- Start singing a song to yourself. Example: “The Ants go Marching 2×2 Hurrah! Hurrah!”
  4. Use a target on the floor such as a crack or a tile and step over it. Imaging a bug that you are trying to step on. Or imagine that you are standing in the middle of a clock and need to step onto a number on the clock.
  5. Set up a 4-5 booster training sessions with a Parkinson’s specific physical therapist with a focus on freezing.
  6. When changing directions while walking, imagine that you are walking around the edge of a round clock, stepping on the numbers as you go.