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Not the Bees Knees

How exactly does MAV affect your gait? I feel like I am shuffling/like there is more gravitational pull on me and I have to force myself to override it and try to walk normal. After months of walking like a drunk elephant 24/7 I’ve been having all sorts of knee pain and tight leg muscles. I searched on the forum here but would love more input if others experience this and if there is anything that can be done to alleviate the impact on my legs. I’ve had some luck with walking fast rather than slow and using hiking poles. Would PT be helpful? Anything else?

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I get where you are coming from completely. My gait was much the same and still can be affected when my balance is off. From all the medical papers I’ve read it is pretty much diagnostic of balance disorders. MAV is described as a ‘variant balance disorder’. With much extra processing the brain cannot keep everything working as well as it usually does. Something has to give. Tight muscles are often nature’s way of keeping you upright and walking differently from usual will always affect knee joints because the problem always hits the weakest point.

When it comes to a solution I have always found once your balance settles the problem will go away. Same with the stiff neck. The brain keeps the neck stiff to reduce movements that cause it to receive faulty signals. Once the brain becomes sufficiently less overstimulated the neck will be released. So once your medication etc really controls the MAV you should be back to normal.

PT? Opinions vary greatly. Many MAVers have strong adverse reactions to PT. I was one. Personally I say ‘if it ain’t broke Don’t fix it’ and IMO ‘underneath’ it ain’t.

Walking slower is always more difficult which btw is why Tai Chi is both difficult to do and educates,/challenges balance issues so successfully.

If you Search the site for ‘ataxia,’ and also ‘magneto head’ if you probably find further info.

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Thanks, Helen. Always good to have your input :slight_smile:

I don’t know if this is something that you could tolerate, but I use a foam roller on my lower back and legs as I too get a lot of tightness here. My PT gave me specific exercises but you can also Google for some really useful videos giving instructions etc. I also find very gentle yoga helps but again, I know that’s not for everyone here.

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+1 for foam roller. for no real reason i accumulate sore trigger points all over. foam rolling really helps.

+1 for yoga. any stretching in general helps.


For my part, I’m pro PT. VRT was very helpful for me, though I did have to get better under control with respect to MAV before it started to help (with Effexor at the time).

My weakest point is the pelvic floor and lumbar spine. Thank you hysterectomy. MAV helps that not at all. PT has been a necessity if I want to be able to walk, sit, sleep - that stuff. And learning the stretches help a lot. So does strengthening support muscles so you don’t do yourself so much damage.

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Good job you posted that Em. My mistake. I was reading VRT for PT and replied according. Must have completely misread @naya’s wording. Of course I am not anti PT (physiotherapy in UK). I too have had some truly positive results with it myself for other conditions. It also helped me with a tight neck from MAV. Only trouble is when the problem is being caused by poor balance/co-ordination because of MAV the relief is short-lived.


Yes it is sadly.

Whereas physio/PT does give some relief which with all the junk MAV throws us generally is no bad thing my point that ‘underneath’ nothing is actually broken or damaged even stands. All these stiff necks, tight knees and achy backs are due to the misalignment of a body affected by a balance disorder. On bad balance days as I struggle to cook a meal I suffer agonies of backache. The very next day, same kitchen, same floor, same shoes, indeed same back :wink: but improved balance and I can dash around as supple (used to distance swim) and pain free as I could 30 years ago. Not too sure how that might help but I thought to say it anyway.

I agree with you entirely.

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