Parkinson’s Disease is a neurodegenerative disease that causes the connection between the brain and body to progressively fail.
Living with Parkinson’s can be managed with physical therapy, exercise, and medication. Having a great support system and a caregiver(s) can also make a huge impact in slowing the progression of this disease. However, advanced symptoms, such as ‘Freezing of Gait’, which some people describe as having their “feet glued to the floor”, might need more than medication to manage.
Freezing of gait is a Parkinson’s patient’s inability to take the next step while walking. Your brain is telling you to lift your left foot and place it in front of your right foot, but your foot isn’t listening; the neural pathways between your brain and your foot muscles are no longer communicating effectively.
Freezing of gait is closely associated with shuffling and trembling in place.
Extensive research has shown that audio and visual cues, such as sound and light, can help alleviate or prevent freezing. External audio and visual cues help in re-establishing a connection between the brain and the body.
Cueing works by using a physical stimuli to help the brain process time and create spatial awareness; this facilitates the initiation of movement and the continuation of movement. Studies have shown that three different cueing variations can assist the brain in allowing movement. These techniques include visual cueing, auditory cueing, and somatosensory cueing.
Cueing helps relieve the symptoms of Parkinsonian gait; improving walking speed, step length, and the number of steps per minute. Studies have also shown these cues’ strength in reducing the number of freezing episodes.
Physical therapists have been using such cues, individually and in combination, with great success. However, there were no easy-to-use mobility products for patients and carers to use at home.
NexStride is a mobility device that combines auditory cues via a metronome and a visual cue via a laser, and is easily strapped onto a patient’s cane, walker, or walking poles. With the NexStride attached, anyone with Parkinson’s can have a simple aid at their fingertips to overcome freezing of gait episodes and take confident steps forward.
The NexStride gives me a sense of freedom, I'm not waiting around the house for my wife to come help me. It really makes a difference. That's been a big change for me. If I want to go into another room, I'm not waiting, I can get up and go do it.
- Glenn Morgan, NexStride beta tester
Want to know how NexStride can help you or your loved one take confident steps while living with Parkinson’s Disease?