As of writing this article medical science has not been able to come up with a complete cure for Parkinson’s disease, but patients with Parkinson’s disease can be treated to reduce the effects of their symptoms. The severity and signs of Parkinson’s differ from person to person and therefore there is no fixed treatment which is applicable for everyone.
The most common options for treating Parkinson’s disease include medication, surgery, physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy and alternative therapies.
1. Parkinson’s Medication
The symptoms are caused due to the depleting levels of dopamine in the brain. And most of the Parkinson’s medications aim at enhancing the dopamine levels. Some drugs on the other hand mimic dopamine. Since taking dopamine alone is not effective (since it does not get absorbed by the brain), it is taking as a combination drug so that it gets absorbed by the nerve cells of the brain. As with any other forms of medications these drugs also have side-effects including hallucinations, confusions, compulsive behavior, etc. Depending on whether the symptoms deteriorate or get reduced the doctor might change the dosage.
2. Physical Therapy
Parkinson’s primarily affects the mobility of a person by stiffening the joints and weakening the muscle tone. Although physical therapy cannot prevent the symptoms from progressing it, but can definitely help the person to cope with the condition. Stretching, walking on the treadmill and resistance training can help the patient a great deal in improving balancing and in gaining strength.
3. Speech Therapy
Parkinson’s patients develop difficulty in communicating. Their speech becomes unsteady and distorted. An expert speech therapist will introduce the patient to techniques and exercises that will help the patient improve speech, control facial expressions and overcome difficulty in swallowing.
4. Occupational Therapy
These therapists help patients to maintain their independence for a longer period. Everyone has a set of daily routine activities and an occupational therapist helps patients to manage their routine by teaching them coping skills. They recommend the changes that need to be made at your home and work place to help you continue your normal life for an extended period.
Again, this process also controls the symptoms and does not offer a permanent cure. Certain symptoms depending on the progression of the illness cannot be treated with medications. In such situations a surgery is recommended. However, the patient will have to continue taking medications even after the surgery. This option is not suitable for everyone and you need to discuss it further with your physician. The chief surgery options for Parkinson’s include Deep brain stimulation and lesioning techniques.
6. Alternative Therapies
Popular alternative therapies include herbal therapies, acupuncture and massage. But before you decide to use herbal medicines and supplements it is always better to discuss with your physician.
Parkinson’s disease may not have a cure but making a few changes and undergoing therapies can help a patient cope better. Eating a nutritional diet and exercising regularly can help you lead a better life.