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Walking aids for walks

Hi, by pure accident now on two occasions when going for a walk I’ve had to use a large umbrella due to impending rain. whilst waiting for the rain, I found that having to carry the big brolly and use it as I’m walking its helped my unsteadiness and sense of imbalance, without it on a good day I can try about 2k slowly but feel off balance but on the occasions with the brolly can do more, however if I go too fast I can feel my head getting full and some pain emerges so I know I can’t go too mad on the walking, I need to pace myself.

I’m now on starting my 6th week on 37mg of effexor and its helping too.

Does anyone use support when walking, is it advisable or am I tricking my brain??

When I mentioned it to my go this week she said its giving me confidence…I’m with my neuro in two weeks so I’ll ask him. I’ve been two years trying to get back walking.

Thanks a mill x


An umbrella or an hiking pole is an excellent walking support. Infact it is extra proprioceptive input for a brain which can definitely use this as the vestibular system is in jeopardy. It can aid compensation as well. Infact it also signals other folks you have an invisible condition.YMMV if you want others to know.

I am on effexor at half of 37.5 and it is helping me as well.


My imbalance has (outside of acute attacks) always been a level of discomfort rather than anything which would cause me to fall, so I’ve never gone that route. My philosophy would be always to promote full compensation by being as natural as possible. YMMV. Respect it may work differently for others.

I have a dog who needs three walks a day and without a walking stick I used to fall over, usually on my face breaking my glasses and cutting the skin just above my eyes which needed stitches in A&E, so my advice is use the cane, I eventually got one and saved myself a lot of hassle.


that’s a nice way to look at it.

erm, yeah you don’t want to do that again! Poor you!

Well, as accidents go, I’d say that’s about as good as it gets, your ‘accidental’ use of your umbrella as a walking stick. Stick with it, as @GetBetter so very rightly says it’s giving you an extra proprioceptive input for your brain, extra ‘feely’ bit. When my Vertigo first turned chronic 24/7, I spent 6 months doing VRT (which did me no good at all) but the VRT therapist was the first person to suggest to me I used a walking stick and I’ve used one outside on walks ever since to date. Without it I would not have been able to go for walks and make some effort towards keeping fit. I would have ended up indoors and agraphobic. The migraine special neurologist I saw instructed me, as part of my treatment plan, to ‘go for a short walk everyday’.

Never dreamed I’d end up walking with a stick. I once remember asking my mother who used one the rest of her life after a broken hip whether it was useful. She replied ‘it’s extremely useful to help you avoid tripping up when walking. It’s also very handy to trip over when you stand up having lent it against the arm of your chair when you’ve sat down!’.

Again as @getbetter says it ‘warns’ people to give you a wider berth to avoid collisions. I’ve found it indespensable.

If you’ve had very limited time outside for so long I think you are doing well with 2K. I’ve found it’s some time and your balance needs to be better again before you can walk faster for short periods which will gradually lengthen to longer fast periods. You certainly need to learn to pace yourself. Helen

Hi all, thanks very much for the advice. @revolving, gosh that’s terrible to have fallen like that, I hope you are doing well now. @Onandon03 Today I tried a walk, got about 1k in and wrapped up, didn’t use a stick but body told me enough especially after big walk yesterday. Like you mu neuro wants me to try get out daily but some weeks its every two or three days. Vigs and James, thanks, I like the idea that my brain can benefit from it so I’m going to invest in a hiking stick for when I feel up to doing bigger walk, I might try some small walks as I feel meds helping more but it felt really good to walk easier yesterday, felt like a small win.
Thanks again all, appreciate your inputs as always x


i have been walking a lot pushing my baby’s stroller and I think that helps a lot :slight_smile:

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Migraine specialist neuro I saw told me I had to increase meds and walk outside every day failure to do so would result in decompensation. Outside on walks I have used a stick since 24/7 dizziness when it was prescribed by VRT body. Helen

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I was told by VRT it was better to walk correctly with a walking aid rather than incorrectly without one. Obviously it’s use only applies to those with MAV who are struggling with walking in the first place. I was in fact told on my ‘Good Days’ I could walk out without one. For many years that never happened but I was pushing two miles most days with an inherited walking stick (family heirloom I’d never dreamt I’d be using so soon in life but still). Recently I’ve been reading a lot about balance etc written by physiotherapists. The brain learns by remembering patterns of movement ie in blocks. Which presumably is why I’m now finding it difficult to get back to walking outside without the walking stick. I’m introducing a new pattern and currently my brain doesn’t go a lot on the idea.

After two nasty falls that sent me to the ER, my neurologist told me to get a cane. I now have a hurricane, simply because my wife bought it and presented it to me to use. If I show up at the office, the boss gives me the stink eye. If I walk without it at home, my wife gives me the stink eye. So I walk with the cane.

I don’t lean on the cane, I just use it to give my brain another input for stability. It’s not unlike touching the wall when I walk down the hall. It doesn’t support me, but it tells my brain where I am in relation to the ground, or so my neurologist says.

I have neuropathy in addition to MAV, so my poor brain only has my eyes to go by at times.

When I was in hospital in May with a major Vestibular Migraine attack I was not allowed to leave the hospital bed for three days, with the exception of going to the toilet with the help of a nurse. On the fourth day I started to feel a bit better and a nurse brought me a forearm walker. I went on “walks” every few hours, down the corridor and back with this forearm walker. I felt good about it because it gave me stability. On the fifth day in the morning the neurologist came, saw the forearm walker and asked me if I need to use it. I said that I like it and that it gives me stability. She said that if I still need it, she cannot allow me to go home. She then got a physiotherapist to evaluate me and luckily, I could walk without the forearm walker and I was also able to use stairs (I have stairs in my home).

I had originally thought to get one of those forearm walkers for me around the house, but decided against it, after hearing the neurologist’s comments. I am glad I did not get it, because it forced my body to compensate for my dizziness. However, that is just me - and it clearly is different for other people.

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The struggling brain grabs at any help it can access. The brain seems to be very quick at adapting to walking aids and it can be very difficult to undo. You rehabilitate quicker the less you’ve had to deviate away in the first place I guess.

You must have excellent medical care where you are. You wouldn’t get taken into hospital with a vestibular attack here. Doctors don’t want to know. I’m always amazed to read of people getting such solicitous attention.

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It is a good point you are making @Onandon03. When I came home, I felt unsteady, but got gradually better. I doubt that I would have improved that quickly with a walking aid.

I went to a private hospital and yes, the care was excellent. When they admitted me, it was unclear what my problem was, but they thought it could be vestibular migraine. I had an MRI scan of my brain and an x-ray of my neck and both were fine. That further supported the diagnosis of vestibular migraine.

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