By Cathy Chapman, Patient Representative, The MSA Coalition

“How many times have you fallen?”

This is one of the first questions I am asked when I see my neurologist.

Risk of falling is a constant concern for MSA patients as our symptoms continue to change. Recognizing the risks and implementing safety measures can help decrease falls and injuries.

The following factors can contribute to the risk of falling:

  • Weakened Balance
  • Slow movement
  • Stiffness
  • Poor coordination
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Dizziness (i.e., Orthostatic Hypotension)
  • Medication side effects
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Sudden onset of infection (e.g., UTI, lung infection, etc.)
  • Uneven surfaces particularly in outdoor spaces

Safety measures that can be implemented to decrease fall risk:

  • Remove throw rugs
  • Wear shoes with good tread
  • Use night lights around the house
  • Keep a flashlight by your bedside
  • Have grab bars or handrails installed
  • Put a shower chair in your bathroom
  • Sit at the edge of your bed before standing
  • Take your time getting out of a chair
  • Stay as mobile as you can, but continue to prioritize safety
  • Use a cane, walker, or wheelchair


It is important to consult with your doctor and include an occupational therapist as part of your care team. With their expertise, an evaluation of your home and physical limitations can ensure a safer environment and better quality of life.

Take one day at a time and live each day at YOUR best.