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A Simple Technique to Avoid Falls When you Have Parkinson's Disease

By March 27, 2009

If you have Parkinson's Disease you have very likely become adept at maneuvering to avoid falling forwards or backwards. Unfortunately none of the techniques you have used work all the time. Now researchers have discovered a very simple trick to help you maintain postural stability.

All you need to do is to direct your attention to the external effects of your movements on the environment rather than to the movements of your own body. Data supporting the effectiveness of this simple technique were published in the February 2009 issue of Physical Therapy, the scientific journal of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). Lead researcher Gabriele Wulf, PhD, and her team observed 14 persons with PD as they used differing focusing strategies when trying to balance on an unstable surface. When participants focused on the effects of their movements on the unstable surface they had fewer postural instabilities than when they focused on their own body (e.g. what their feet were doing.).

Gabriele Wulf, Merrill Landers, Rebecca Lewthwaite and Thomas Töllner, (2009). External Focus Instructions Reduce Postural Instability in Individuals With Parkinson Disease. M Physical Therapy, 89, (2): 162-168.

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