Parkinson’s freezing can affect any portion of the body and interfere with almost any task, such as chewing or writing. Although the upper part of the body is still flexible, it typically happens when someone is walking, making them feel as though their legs are stuck to the ground. The effects of this, which are commonly referred to as “freezing of motion,” can range from a momentary disturbance in stance to an elevated risk of falling and suffering fractured bones or other injuries.
It is still unclear what physiological factor in Parkinson’s freezing. What is understood is that, notably in those with mid- to late-stage disease, it’s frequently linked to drops in treatment effectiveness.
What Causes Freezing in Parkinson’s?
Although the precise origin of freezing is unknown, experts believe it has something to do with cognitive issues and the intricate brain circuitry needed for movement. Another common cause of walking-related freezing is changing direction, moving closer to a doorway, or moving through a crowded space. For instance, walking calls for several connections between various brain regions, such as:
- Regions of the frontal lobe of the brain that control and begin movement
- Sections of the brainstem that regulate movement and wakefulness regions of the basal
- Ganglia where dopaminergic neurons that fine-tune and govern movement are found
Parkinson’s disease patients’ brain connections appear to short-circuit at one or more locations. Individual differences may exist in the specific anomalies that give rise to the issue.
Typical Triggers of Freezing
When someone is stressed, angry, or basically having an “off” phase, freezing is more likely to occur. It may also occur frequently as the effects of dopaminergic medicine begin to fade.
Even though freezing episodes can occur at any time, they seem to happen more frequently when you initially start moving. Instances of freezing are frequently brought on by the following:
- Entering and leaving doors
- When you are turning around
- Stepping from one place to another
- In an unfamiliar area
Why Do Parkinson’s Patients Freeze?
Freezing of gait is a common and disabling symptom experienced by some Parkinson’s disease patients. The exact cause of freezing of gait in Parkinson’s disease is not entirely understood, but it likely results from a combination of factors, including:
- Dopamine depletion: Parkinson’s disease leads to a gradual loss of dopamine-producing neurons, leading to a reduction in dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine plays a crucial role in regulating movement and coordination. As dopamine levels decrease, it can cause difficulties in initiating and executing movements, leading to episodes of freezing.
- Basal ganglia dysfunction: The basal ganglia is a group of nuclei in the brain involved in controlling movement. In Parkinson’s disease, the dysfunction of the basal ganglia due to dopamine depletion disrupts the normal communication between brain regions involved in coordinating movements. This disruption can contribute to freezing episodes.
- Gait disturbances: Parkinson’s disease can cause other gait abnormalities, such as shuffling steps, reduced arm swing, and small steps. These abnormal gait patterns can contribute to freezing of gait as well.
- Medication effects: The medications used to manage Parkinson’s disease symptoms, such as levodopa, can have complex effects on gait and movement. Sometimes, wearing off of medication or fluctuations in its effectiveness can lead to episodes of freezing.
- Cognitive factors: Cognitive impairments and attention deficits are common in Parkinson’s disease. When patients encounter complex or challenging situations, such as navigating through crowded places or changing direction, it can overwhelm their cognitive resources and lead to freezing.
- Anxiety and stress: Freezing of gait can be triggered or worsened by stress, anxiety, or fear, particularly in situations that require complex movements or when the person feels rushed or pressured.
How Can You Manage Parkinson’s Freezing?
Speak with your healthcare professional if you struggle with freezing episodes. Keeping a symptom record in which you record the intervals of a day or specific acts that cause freezing can be helpful. There are easy and efficient strategies to manage Parkinson’s freezing, despite the fact that it can have a significant influence on a person’s quality of life. Your doctor might be able to change your prescription to help you experience fewer episodes.
You can learn additional strategies for lowering your risk of falling from a physical therapist with experience in Parkinson’s disease. You can reduce your risk of falling with the aid of an occupational therapist.
When Parkinson’s patients’ freeze, they may feel frustrated or ashamed. If your family member is going through a freezing episode or any other symptoms of Parkinson’s, you can support them by showing patience and refraining from bringing up the experience. Additionally, if you are looking for stem cells for Parkinson’s Disease, get in touch with us [email protected] or call us at +91-9654321400