Opinion: A Brief Guide to Easing Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
Parkinson’s disease can, unfortunately, impact a person’s quality of life, as those living with the condition can struggle to speak, walk, sleep, or swallow. While there is currently no cure for the degenerative illness, there are multiple treatment options to consider. Here is a brief guide to easing symptoms while maintaining quality of life.
[Editor’s note: we do not endorse all methods for every person. Consult with a physician before beginning any type of treatment.]
Smoking Medical Marijuana
Recent studies have found that smoking marijuana can reduce both tremors and pains, while helping people to enjoy a more restful night’s sleep. One study from Israel found that people who smoked marijuana experienced significant improvement in their fine motor skills. As many states have since legalized medical marijuana, people living with Parkinson’s disease can find local dispensaries to ease their symptoms and enjoy a greater quality of life.
Eat Whole Foods
People living with Parkinson’s should strive to eat more whole foods each day, which include organic fruit and vegetables and quality meats. What’s more, they must remove all processed foods that contain preservatives, chemicals, or synthetic ingredients. Try to incorporate a combination of raw, high fiber and omega-3 foods into your diet, as well as healthy fats and cold-pressed oils.
As mentioned, the degenerative neurological disorder can negatively affect a person’s fine motor skills, but that does not mean a person should avoid exercise altogether. According to the Washington University School of Medicine, exercise can play a positive role in the treatment of Parkinson’s. While a person may not be able to exercise like they once did before they developed the condition, exercise can help improve the symptoms, as it is an anti-inflammatory and anti-depressant.
Stretch Your Muscles
Stiffness, soreness, and pain are, unfortunately, part and parcel of Parkinson’s disease. Thankfully, stretching can help you to loosen up your body and can prevent muscle spasms. It is important to incorporate stretching into your daily routine, which you can perform standing up or sitting in a chair.
Research from King’s College Neurodegenerative Disease Research Group has stated that acupuncture can potentially relieve Parkinson’s disease symptoms, as it can produce a neutral response within the brain that’s connected to inflammation. It is thought to slow down both cell death and attenuate oxidative stress. As a result, it can decrease pain, insomnia, stiffness, and anxiety for patients.
Tai-Chi is a mind-body practice well-regarded for maintaining both strength and balance, while decreasing depression and anxiety. As a result, the Chinese martial art could help decrease symptoms in Parkinson’s patients. Try to perform Tai Chi for one hour at least twice per week, as the slow, rhythmic movements can improve your focus, stability, and range of motion.
Traditional exercises can be a challenge for people living with Parkinson’s, as they will experience muscle loss, balance problems, stiffness and weakness. Water aerobics can, therefore, be an alternative solution, as it allows you to exercise with ease without the risk of falling over. A Journal of Physical Therapy Science study reported older adults with the disorder experienced greater leg strength and quickly recovered their balance following a fall.