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Freezing

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Updated May 27, 2009

Definition: Almost half of the population of people with Parkinson's disease experience a sudden inability to move at all known as ‘freezing.’ It is a scary experience for most of those who experience it, particularly when it involves most of the body. But that is rare.

Most often freezing affects the legs during walking. This freezing of the legs may include hesitation when beginning to walk or a sudden inability to move the feet during specific situations, such as when you see a long hallway or crossing busy streets, or approaching a destination that is within site.

You can sometimes develop tricks to overcome freezing attacks. The idea is to use some external cue that can overcome the hesitation. These external cues may be music with a beat, conspicuous cracks in the sidewalk or some close object that you reach. You use the musical beat to get going again or the conspicuous object to pull you out of the freeze, for example. Sometimes just shifting your body weight may be enough to get going again.

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