4 Things you can do while waiting in line at the grocery store to improve your Parkinson’s symptoms

‘Freezing’: a common Parkinson’s symptom


Dear Patrick,

I’m having problems with freezing in my home. Strangely enough, it seems to occur frequently at the same location in my kitchen. I have an island that sticks out in the center of my kitchen with the prep sink and often times when I try to walk through that area I freeze. Can you tell me why this is happening and do you have any suggestions?

Thanks in advance, Carol M.


Hi Carol, thanks for your question. The situation with freezing that you are experiencing is not uncommon. Parkinson’s symptoms such as freezing can be exacerbated by stress or concerns about navigating through an area. You might also be experiencing freezes in doorways? That is also common. One suggestion I have is to set up your home to maximize both your comfort and ability to successfully and safely navigate. In regards to the area near your sink, you might try putting a piece of tape on the floor  to serve as a visual target for you to step on or over.

Freezes can often be broken by utilizing a visual target or cue.  You can purchase inexpensive blue or green tape at your local hardware store which is used to mask off areas while painting. It won’t damage your floor and can be removed once you get better at passing through that area.

Setting up your home for both safety and function is an important task for anyone living with Parkinson’s disease. You can ask your neurologist for a prescription for occupational therapy to help with activities of daily living as well as asking the therapist for tips on making your home more comfortable and safe.

Two common hazards that can easily be remedied are cabinet corners and throw rugs. Many families lay down throw rugs in high-traffic areas such as doorways and halls to avoid wearing down the rug beneath. This is a miss guided strategy and a bad idea. The cost of a broken hip is significantly more than the cost eventually re-carpeting. Tripping over a throw rug is probably the leading cause of falls in the home. How to remedy this? Pick up the throw rugs and throw them out, all of them. I wish I could change the name from the “throw rug” to the “throw out rug.”

Another common hazard is sharp corners on cabinets or tables. I had a client named Bill who had a new cut or nick on the top of his head every time I showed up for his in-home exercise sessions. He had a low hanging cabinet with a sharp corner just above the toaster where he would prepare his breakfast in the morning. He’d hit his head on the corner of that cabinet at least once a week. I purchased a foam corner pad, that is designed to make homes safe for small children, and attached it to the corner. Bill’s head healed and that was the end of the weekly cuts to his head. These pads are easily installed (most have adhesive backs) and are available at any hardware store or can be ordered online.


Parkinson’s disease is a difficult diagnosis, but making intelligent decisions in regards to the way you live can make all the difference. Keep moving and take heart in the fact that you can often find ways of overcoming many of your Parkinson’s symptoms.

Ask Patrick is an advice/opinion column based on my experiences working with people with Parkinson’s disease as a trainer and an advocate. It is not intended to replace the instructions of your doctor. Always consult with your doctor if there is a change in your status or if you have questions about their instructions. All exercise has an inherent risk of injury so proceed cautiously.

For more information and free Parkinsons exercise videos, visit PatrickLoSasso.com or email Patrick with your questions at patrick@PatrickLoSasso.com

Avoid Parkinson’s Falls with Agility & Visual Cue Drills

Generally associated with training by athletes who want to perform at their highest level, agility drills are a key strategy employed when improving an individual’s ability to change direction while in motion. These drills focus on the lower torso joints (from the hip to the ankle) and are a core part of the rehabilitation process undertaken to […]

How You Can Feel Better Today with Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease does not only affect the quality of life but also seriously deteriorates a patient’s outlook to life. Their sense of worth, drive to fight the disease and social confidence are all seriously affected. While it is a physician’s job to look after the core symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, several studies show that holding the right attitude and will power are most effective. The key to feeling better in Parkinson’s disease is to incorporate self-treatment plans and a determination to fight back.

unnamed (2)Alternative Therapies

The advantage of adopting complementary therapies is their holistic approach in treating the disease. Parkinson’s disease has no specific cure; therefore, use of complementary therapies may help patients in controlling some of their symptoms. There is no guarantee of a clear-cut treatment plan with such therapies. However, these therapies indirectly work by alleviating some of the most common in-direct symptoms of Parkinson’s disease such as insomnia, poor eating habits and constipation.

Stress Management

Feeling better in any sort of disease requires exercising your brain to stay happy. Patients with Parkinson’s disease should learn to cope up with the disease, without taking mental and physical stress. This surprisingly improves the quality of life a great deal. Episodes of meditation and deep breathing help to retain positive energy and help patients manage stress.

Continuing work

Most patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease decide to retire immediately. This does not only elevates depression but also suddenly leaves them inactive. To feel better in Parkinson’s disease is to ‘act normal’. It is advised that patients should continue with their work if the situation is still manageable. Of course, if patients cannot handle a demanding work life, they should look for alternative ways to ease their workload and distribute their responsibilities to others. This does not only keep the patients active but also gives them; much needed exercise, in Parkinson’s disease.

Being Sexually Active

Sexual activities are a common part of daily life; however, most patients with Parkinson’s disease quit intimacy and sexual activities out of embarrassment or feeling of worthlessness. Making the patients feel better in Parkinson’s disease is to make them feel normal. The partners of patients with Parkinson’s disease, who are sexually active, should help boost their confidence. They should remain sexually active to uplift their self-esteem and eventually reducing depression.

Serious Conditions

In more serious conditions of Parkinson’s disease, it is helpful to design the layout of certain areas at home in a recognized pattern for patients. For example, arranging the most commonly used things in the kitchen, bathroom etc. may help them exercise, and be independent in using them. Furthermore, in serious conditions, falling remains the biggest threats for patients in Parkinson’s disease. This can be reduced by using customized shoes with soles that help prevent incidences of falls. The best techniques to make patients of Parkinson’s disease feel better are individually tailored. However, under all circumstances a positive outlook with a determination to tackle the disease, matters the most, to make patients feel better in Parkinson’s disease.

Sleep facts

Must-know info to help you get your zzz’s

From The Yahoo Health Column.

Can’t sleep? You have plenty of company. About half of all adults experience insomnia on occasion, and 1 in 10 battle insomnia on a regular basis, according to the Cleveland Clinic. If you fall into one of those groups, chances are you’re already following the tried-and-true rules for a good night’s sleep: Don’t have too much caffeine (especially late in the day), don’t exercise late at night, keep your bedroom at a cool, comfortable temperature, and make sure your bed, pillows and linens are comfy. Those are all good tips, but there are lesser-known things you can try to help you get more rest.

1. Set a Bedtime Alert
Most of us already use an alarm to wake up in the morning, but sleep expert Michael Breus, PhD, author of Beauty Sleep: Look Younger, Lose Weight, and Feel Great Through Better Sleep, suggests setting it at night as well. “I tell people to set their alarm for one hour before bedtime, which reminds them to begin what I call the power-down hour,” says Dr. Breus, who is also a spokesman for the Zeo Personal Sleep Coach. He says you should spend the first 20 minutes of that hour taking care of any necessary chores (like walking the dog or making your kids’ lunches), then spend the next 20 minutes on hygiene (washing up, brushing your teeth, etc.), and save the last 20 minutes before bed for relaxation. You don’t necessarily have to meditate, if that doesn’t appeal to you; you can also do deep breathing exercises, read a book or even watch a little TV (as long as it’s not too stimulating).
2. Don’t Clear Your Mind

Experts say anxiety and depression top the list of reasons people have trouble sleeping. Part of the problem is that many of us just can’t seem to quiet that internal voice that starts rambling on about the worries of the day. Of course, if you can clear your mind, go ahead and do it. But if that’s impossible, don’t force it–you’ll only end up panicking about the fact that you’re not sleeping, says Paul McKenna, PhD, author of the soon-to-be-released book I Can Make You Sleep. Instead, try slowing down your thoughts. “Practice saying anything feedback and everything that comes into your mind to yourself in a slow, monotonous, drowsy tone,” says Dr. McKenna. It doesn’t matter if you’re thinking about what to buy tomorrow at the grocery store or how a big presentation at work is going to go. If you slow everything down and talk to yourself in an even tone, you’ll find it’s that much harder to keep worrying (or stay awake).
3. Count Numbers–Not Sheep
Another great way to quiet those racing thoughts is to count backward from 300 by 3s, says Dr. Breus. Unless you’re a math ace, you probably won’t be able to focus on anything else while you’re doing this, which means you’ll end up distracting yourself from your stressful thoughts.
4. Get Up a Half-Hour Earlier
Yes, you read that right! If you’re suffering from chronic insomnia, try getting up, for example, at 6:30 instead of your usual 7 wakeup time–no matter what time you fell asleep the night before. You may be extra-sleepy for a little while, but this is hands-down the most effective way to reset your body clock, says Dr. McKenna. It works because it teaches your body that it can’t catch up on sleep in the morning, so eventually you’ll start feeling drowsier earlier in the evening.
5. Consider Seeing a Professional
A sleep psychologist is someone who specializes in gathering info about your emotions and your behaviors specifically as they relate to sleep. Often found at sleep centers, a sleep psychologist can usually help resolve your sleep issues in just four to six sessions, says Joseph Ojile, MD, founder of the Clayton Sleep Institute in St. Louis and a spokesman for the National Sleep Foundation.
6. Don’t Worry If You Can’t Sleep Right Away
You shouldn’t pass out the second your head hits the pillow. If that happens all the time, it’s a sign that you’re sleep deprived. (Ditto for nodding off during boring meetings and long movies.) Ideally, it should take 15 to 25 minutes from when you lie down to when you drift off to sleep, says Dr. Breus.
7. Go to Bed When You’re Tired
If you’re having ongoing sleep troubles, don’t worry so much about the fact that it’s almost midnight and you have to get up in less than seven hours. Forcing yourself to stay in bed when you’re not sleepy is just going to contribute to more tossing and turning, says Dr. Ojile. Instead, get up, do something relaxing, and go back to bed whenever you do feel tired. You might end up exhausted the next day (but that was bound to happen either way under these circumstances), and the following night you should have better luck getting to bed earlier.