Managing falls and dizziness in Parkinson's

Dizziness and falling can be a particular issue for people with Parkinson’s. It may happen because of a drop in blood pressure that is linked to Parkinson’s medication or the condition itself. 

The risk of falling can also be linked to muscle stiffness, reduced mobility and balance issues.

By Fiona Lindop
Specialist Physiotherapist

We caught up with physiotherapist Fiona Lindop who shares her top tips on reducing falls and dizziness and explains how to manage these issues when they happen.

Walking and staying balanced

  • People with Parkinon’s can be more likely to experience issues with balance. You may also experience freezing, where your feet feel ‘glued’ to the floor.

  • If you notice issues with balance and freezing, see a physiotherapist for an assessment so they can advise you on improving your mobility.

  • Be careful when reaching above your head or below your knees as this is when you can become unsteady.

  • When you are walking, try not to turn too quickly or pivot on the spot. Marching your feet around in the direction you need to turn can help.

  • Getting into a rhythm when you walk can help you take bigger, more focused strides. You could count each step or walk to a particular tune in your head, for example.

Moving around your home

  • Think about comfortable supportive footwear. For example, if you wear slippers make sure they fit well and have a back to them (slippers with no back can fall off).

  • Make sure the floor in your home is uncluttered so that you can move around easily and are less likely to trip. Move any loose rugs that could cause you to fall over.

  • If you are unsteady on your feet around the house, there is a range of equipment that can help. For example, grab rails give you something to hold and steady yourself with. These can be handy in tricky areas such as the shower, the bathroom, or where there are steps.

Exercise 

  • Exercise is very important as it can help you maintain your flexibility, balance and posture.

  • Evidence shows that exercising for 2.5 hours a week can help your Parkinson’s symptoms. There is something for everyone so find an exercise that suits your Parkinson’s.

Medication

  • If you experience problems with low blood pressure, it could lead to dizziness and falling. If this happens, speak to your Parkinson’s nurse or specialist for advice.

  • It’s important to get your Parkinson’s medication on time so that it can control your symptoms and reduce the risk of falling.

  • Speak to your healthcare professional if you are unsure whether your Parkinson’s medication is working well to control your symptoms. Adjustments to the doses you take or changing the type of medication you take can reduce problems with falls and dizziness.

Find out more: read and download our health information about falls and dizziness