Skip to content

Parkinson's Disease Health Center

Font Size

Parkinson's Disease and Freezing - Topic Overview

In Parkinson's disease, freezing (sometimes called motor block) is a sudden, brief inability to start movement or to continue rhythmic, repeated movements, such as finger-tapping, writing, or walking. Freezing most often affects walking, but it also can affect speech, writing, and the person's ability to open and close his or her eyes. It tends to develop later in the course of the disease.

Freezing can be very disabling when it affects the way a person walks, causing the person to stop as though his or her feet suddenly have become glued to the floor. It can result in falls that cause serious injury, such as hip fracture. Freezing may occur at an open doorway (most common), at a line on the floor, or in crowds. It may be more likely to occur if the person is anxious or under stress.

Recommended Related to Parkinson's

Parkinson's Disease Patient Education Center

  Visit WebMD's Parkinson's Disease Health Center Newly Diagnosed With Parkinson's Disease? Find Help Here Making the Diagnosis: Get Information From the Cleveland Clinic Your Treatment Options: Get Information From the Cleveland Clinic Looking for Clinical Trials? Check This Page Message Board: Neurological Disorders Support Group ...

Read the Parkinson's Disease Patient Education Center article > >

There are several tricks you can learn to help you become "unfrozen" when a freezing episode occurs.

  • Step towards a specific target on the ground. Some people use handheld laser pointers to create a target.
  • Place a cane or walking stick on the floor in front of you (or have someone else do it) and then step over it.
  • Make your first step a precise, stiff-legged, marching-type step, with a long stride.

These or other techniques may help you overcome freezing and get moving again. Specially trained dogs and special devices are available that can help you if freezing is a severe or frequent problem.

Apomorphine (Apokyn) is a fast-acting dopamine agonist that seems to be helpful in treating freezing associated with Parkinson's disease. Apomorphine can be injected under the skin when muscles become "frozen." This medicine is best taken with an antinausea drug to prevent side effects of severe nausea and vomiting.

Changing a person's levodopa dosage may improve freezing. But this does not work in all cases.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Parkinson's Disease and Freezing Topics

    Today on WebMD

    Parkinsons disease illustration
    Causes, symptoms, and treatments.
    hands on walker
    How does the disease progress?
     
    man with serious expression
    8 common questions and answers.
    intelligence quotient illustration
    What are the advantages of DBS?
     
    Parkinsons Disease Medications
    Article
    Questions Doctor Parkinsons
    Article
     
    Eating Right
    Article
    Parkinsons Exercise
    Article
     
    daughter consoling depressed mother
    Article
    senior man's hands
    Article
     
    Parkinsons Daily
    Article
    Acupunture
    Article
     

    WebMD Special Sections