What are the treatment options for Parkinson’s disease? Parkinson’s disease treatment options range from exercise and lifestyle changes to medications and medical procedures. Below are all of the different Parkinson’s disease treatments to discuss with your Movement Disorder Specialist.
Parkinson’s Disease Treatment Options:
- Parkinson’s Exercise
- Vocal Exercises
- Rehabilitative Therapy
- DBS and Other Parkinson’s Surgeries
- Community Support
- Lifestyle Changes
- Herbal Remedies
There are several different medications to help manage various symptoms of Parkinson’s. However, the main medication most people with Parkinson’s will take at some point is Carbidopa-Levodopa. A lot of the movement symptoms with Parkinson’s are due to not having enough dopamine in the brain. It’s like trying to drive a car without gasoline! Carbidopa-Levodopa helps replace dopamine in your brain to help manage and improve the symptoms of Parkinson’s.
Exercise is a key part of managing the symptoms of your Parkinson’s disease. Keeping to a regular exercise routine can help you retain your physical abilities and manage the physical, cognitive and emotional symptoms of Parkinson’s. If you are looking for Parkinson’s exercise classes, then click here.
With Parkinson’s many people experience difficulty swallowing or their voice becomes very soft, and others have a hard time hearing them. Just as it is important to exercise to help manage the physical movement symptoms of Parkinson’s, vocal exercises can help you manage your speech symptoms. If you are looking for speech exercises in a fun environment with others who are also facing Parkinson’s, click here.
Different therapies can be helpful when managing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Physical and occupational therapy can be helpful when you need help managing some of the different physical symptoms of Parkinson’s such as flexibility, dexterity, slowness of movement, balance, walking challenges and more. Speech Therapists or Speech language pathologists can help you if you are having trouble swallowing or your voice is softening, and others are having a difficult time hearing you. Your doctor should be able to recommend different therapists in your area that can help you with these symptoms of Parkinson’s.
DBS And Other Parkinson’s Surgeries
Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), a well-known surgery for Parkinson’s, helps manage some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Without getting too technical, you can think of it like a pacemaker for the brain. The nerves (“neurons”) in your brain communicate with each other through electrical impulses. Some of these brain electrical circuits are disrupted by Parkinson’s – they start to fire electrical impulses to each other at abnormal rhythms, causing miscommunication. During the DBS procedure, a neurosurgeon will insert very thin electrical wires into the brain that introduce electrical currents that “reset” brain circuits, similar to the way a heart pacemaker ensures that your heart beats at a healthier rhythm. Once the DBS is implanted, a neurologist will typically work with you over a series of visits to program the device to optimize control of your symptoms. This Parkinson’s treatment is not right for everyone and should be discussed with your doctor. If you would like to learn more about DBS you can watch a video giving an overview of the subject by clicking here.
There are other forms of surgery for Parkinson’s. For example, Focused-Ultrasound is a newer type of surgery used to treat bothersome tremor in Parkinson’s when it doesn’t respond well to medications. The interesting thing about this therapy is that it doesn’t involve scalpels or stitches! Using advanced ultrasound techniques that can penetrate the skull bone, focused ultrasound can disrupt the abnormal electrical circuit that is causing the tremor. (click here for video about this). Another surgical treatment is the Duopa Pump, which is an external pump that continuously delivers carbidopa/levodopa directly into your abdomen (duodenum) through a small tube, and helps alleviate some of the “wearing off” that you can get with taking carbidopa/levodopa by mouth. Again, when thinking about surgery for Parkinson’s, your doctor will be a great asset to help you navigate your options.
Keeping a good diet can not only help your overall health but is also helpful when managing Parkinson’s disease. A healthy diet gives your body all of the nutrients and energy it needs to fight back against Parkinson’s and to keep symptoms from progressing more rapidly. If you are looking for a guide on how to keep a healthy diet for Parkinson’s, click here.
We are including community support on a list of Parkinson’s treatments because it can be crucial to your overall health. Your mental and emotional health can be greatly affected by Parkinson’s, and this can in turn affect your physical health as well. Having a supportive community whom you can talk to who understands what you are going through is extremely beneficial in your journey with Parkinson’s. If you are looking for a Parkinson’s support group click here.
Certain lifestyle changes can really help when trying to manage your Parkinson’s symptoms. For instance, those with Parkinson’s can be prone to falls which can worsen your symptoms. Installing railings or shower seats can be a practical way to reduce the risk of falls as well as avoiding certain risky behavior. Discuss with your doctor and others with Parkinson’s what type of lifestyle changes would be most beneficial for you.
Herbal remedies (and why the jury is still out)
If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s for any amount of time you will most likely have seen an ad or a social post about herbal remedies that can “cure” Parkinson’s disease. While some herbal remedies may be able to help manage some Parkinson’s symptoms, scientific evidence of how effective or safe these remedies may be are limited. To date, there is not a cure or a miracle Parkinson’s treatment as it is so commonly advertised. Please consult your doctor and discuss with them before taking any herbal treatments.
What Parkinson’s Disease Treatment options are right for you?
All of the above Parkinson’s disease treatment options should be discussed with your doctor before implementation. Most of the treatments listed above your doctor will likely prescribe for you with exceptions for DBS, which will be prescribed for specific situations. Whatever Parkinson’s treatment your doctor prescribes you it is important to take their advice and be consistent with your treatment plan.
Parkinson’s symptoms can be managed and there is no reason you can’t live a normal and fulfilling life if you stick to your Parkinson’s disease treatment plan prescribed by your doctor.
How PFNCA Can Help You With Your Parkinson’s
Looking to learn more about Parkinson’s? Click the button below and receive our Parkinson’s resource pack featuring multiple videos, articles and more from leading Parkinson’s doctors on everything you need to know for you or a loved one to live well with Parkinson’s.
PFNCA provides Parkinson’s exercise classes live, in person and online. You can improve your quality of life by managing your symptoms in a fun and supportive environment with others facing Parkinson’s.