Fall Prevention

Falls in Parkinson’s Disease occur as for several reasons.  First, and most common, are falls due to impaired gait or ability to walk with proper form. This is corrected with proper gait training. Balance control impairments resulting in falls are also a prominent symptom of PD.  Although balance impairments exist, it is primarily the lack of postural reflexes that results in the inability to recover balance and subsequent falls in PD. Among the most important contributions of the brain to balance control is cortical integration of input from the proprioceptive, visual, and vestibular systems to interpret spatial orientation.  During functional balance training for PD, patients are placed on unstable surfaces designed to challenge either the vestibular or proprioceptive systems. Patients then perform movements that simultaneously challenge higher level cognitive processing and alter their center of gravity. These movements involve multitasking, lifting weights, lifting equipment with water and rapidly catching and throwing objects.  Once a patient’s balance is challenged to the point that they can no longer remain on the equipment they utilize cognitive movement strategies to help the higher centers of the brain to compensate for the loss of postural reflexes.  These movement strategies revolve around taking large corrective steps to increase the base of support.  This method of balance training for people living with PD was pioneered by Dr. Terpstra during his time at the University of Cincinnati.

Balance Fall Prevention Parkinson's Disease Cincinnati

Throwing a medicine ball while standing on an unstable surface is one of the hallmarks of our fall prevention training.

Balance Fall Prevention Parkinson's Disease Cincinnati

After experiencing multiple falls every day, this patient joined our institute. After two years of training with Dr. Terpstra and his staff he can now perform the same balance exercises used by pro athletes!

Balance Fall Prevention Parkinson's Disease Cincinnati

The Parkinson’s Disease Rehabilitation Institute also has equipment designed specifically for our style of balance training that can’t be found anywhere else in the world