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International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society
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Climbing Shown to Improve Posture in People with Parkinson’s Disease

Media Contact: Shea Higgins +1 304-633-3396, 

MILWAUKEE, WI, USA – Sport climbing in patients with mild to moderate Parkinson’s disease (PD) resulted in improved posture, according to a study released today at the International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders® in Madrid, Spain. 

Patients with PD often have a stooped posture due to forward flexion of the trunk. This 12-week study performed in Vienna, Austria, looked at changes in posture in patients with PD who participated in sport climbing verses those who did unsupervised activity of their choice. Climbing sessions were supervised and totaled 90 minutes per week. Participants in the study did not have prior climbing experience. Forward flexion of the cervical spine was measured throughout the study in all 46 participants and found to significantly improve in the group that participated in the sport climbing.  

Prof. Michele Tinazzi, Professor of Neurology at University of Verona, commented, "The authors demonstrated that sport climbing significantly decreases forward flexion of the cervical spine in PD patients and concluded that this study provides strong evidence that sport climbing improves stooped posture in mild to moderate Parkinson disease. Stooped posture is often seen in PD patients and is characterized by mild anterior trunk flexion of the trunk and of the neck with mild hip and knee flexion. Very recently, an MDS task-force consensus on nosology and cut-off for axial postural abnormalities (Tinazzi et al. Mov Dis Clin Pract 2022) found a full agreement for the following terms and cut-offs: camptocormia, with thoracic fulcrum (>45°) or lumbar fulcrum (>30°), antecollis (>45°); anterior trunk flexion,” with thoracic (≥25°to ≤45°) or lumbar fulcrum (>15°to ≤30°), and “anterior neck flexion” (>35° to ≤45°) were chosen for milder postural abnormalities.”  

Prof. Tinazzi continues, “In the present study, the authors did not define the anterior trunk or neck flexion using this validated approach but using the distance (in cm) of the seventh cervical vertebra (C7) sagittal vertical axis (C7SVA) from the wall was defined when standing upright against a wall. This approach is not adequate to really detect the above anteroflexion postural abnormalities. Notwithstanding this limitation, the present study and the previous one of the same group suggests that sport climbing improves motor symptoms and possibly also the stooped posture in PD. Future ad hoc studies in PD patients with different anteroflexion postural abnormalities and different degrees using the validated software-based measurements are needed to confirm these important preliminary results.” 

Full abstract text: Reference #: 739

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About the 2022 MDS International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders®:
The MDS International Congress is the premier annual event to advance the clinical and scientific discipline of Movement Disorders, including Parkinson’s disease. Convening thousands of leading clinicians, scientists and other health professionals from around the globe, the International Congress will introduce more than 1,500 original scientific abstracts and provide a forum for education and collaboration on latest research findings and state-of-the-art treatment options. 

About the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society: 
The International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society (MDS), an international society of over 11,000 clinicians, scientists, and other healthcare professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. For more information about MDS, visit


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