An important part of your general health is exercise, especially for Parkinson’s patients. Regular exercise leads to a slowing the progress of the disease and will help with mobility and range of motion issues. Physical therapy may also be an alternative treatment for Parkinson’s disease patients. A registered therapist can help you improve muscle strength and improve your walking and balance. Physical therapy makes you feel more confident and capable of doing your everyday routines. If a Parkinson’s patient has problems with speech or swallowing, a speech therapist or pathologist can help improve those problems.
Another alternative therapy is a surgery called deep brain stimulation. An electrode is implanted deep in the brain where movement is controlled. A device much like a pacemaker placed under the skin in the chest area controls stimulation to that electrode. A wire travels under the skin and is attached to electrode. Deep brain stimulation helps stabilize medications and reduces involuntary movement called dyskinesias. Patients with tremors are especially responsive to this surgery but do not help with the accompanying dementia. It may make the dementia worse. There are risks as with any surgery. Infections, hemorrhage, or stroke like problems may occur after surgery. The battery unit in the chest device needs to be replaced every three to four years. Patients who didn’t respond to carbidopa-levodopa did not respond to deep brain stimulation either.
There are lifestyle and home remedies that can be effective in treating Parkinson’s disease. Of course it is especially helpful if you eat a nutritionally balanced diet with high fiber foods. This decreases the possibility of constipation problems often found in Parkinson’s patients. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is part of that healthy diet. Your doctor may recommend taking a fiber supplement such as Metamucil or Citrucel to treat constipation problems. It’s important to drink plenty of water daily for good digestive health and Parkinson’s related constipation.
You can take care of yourself by avoiding falls, and walking with care. Parkinson’s disease will undermine balance and make walking difficult. Some suggestions for keeping your footing and avoiding falls are:
* Avoid moving too quickly.
* Be sure your heel is hitting the floor first when you are walking.
* Try to stand straight. Your head should be over your hips.
* Stand with your feet eight to ten inches apart.
* Keep your center of gravity over your feet.
* Don’t walk backward.
* Try not to carry items while you are walking.
* Don’t lean or reach.
* Try not to pivot your body over your feet when turning around.
Dressing yourself may be the most frustrating part of your disease. Fine motor control loss makes it hard to button and zip clothes. A physical therapist may help you find techniques that are helpful and make it easier to dress. Try not to rush, give yourself plenty of time. Lay your clothes out ahead of time, and wear clothes that are easy to put on such as sweats or slip on clothes. Velcro is a wonderful tool to help people with Parkinson’s disease stay independent and eases frustration in dressing