Symptoms, Causes, and the Best Treatments for Parkinson’s Disease
It is believed that almost one million Americans are living with Parkinson’s disease (PD), while even 60,000 are diagnosed with it each year. This data proves the severity of such a condition, whose symptoms can be mitigated with adequate treatment.
Proper medications and lifestyle changes recommended by your doctor can bring specific improvements. Still, if you want to avoid drugs and intake of chemical substances, you should consider the practices provided by Eastern medicine.
One such approach involves Chinese herbs and acupuncture for Parkinson’s disease. Functional Neurology is another natural therapy often utilized. Both treatments have provided fantastic and measurable outcomes so far, especially in patients where the condition hasn’t progressed much yet.
The truth is that Eastern medicine cannot cure the condition, but it can significantly help with slowing its progression. Namely, certified practitioners can identify the problem before the diagnosis has been made in Western medicine. That said, the Eastern approaches can help remove underlying conditions that might be causing problems and improve the patient’s overall health.
The following post will provide a broader explanation of Parkinson’s disease, its symptoms, causes, and treatments that involve the integration of Western and Eastern medical practices.
What is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease is defined as a progressive neurological condition that affects the movement. It often starts gradually, causing tremors at one hand only. As time passes, the tremor expands to other body parts, provoking the stiffness and solving the movement.
It has various stages that worsen gradually. Therefore, patients probably won’t feel anything during the first stage, but as the disease progresses, they might start to notice certain changes in speech and the ability to walk.
What are Common Parkinson’s Symptoms?
Since there are five stages of Parkinson’s disease, the symptoms will vary depending on its level of progression. Still, some of the common signs that may indicate the onset of Parkinson’s are:
- Uncomfortable and uncontrollable shaking and tremors
- Lack of coordination
- Speaking difficulties
- Slowed movement (bradykinesia)
- Balance difficulties and problems while standing up
- Stiffness in limbs
- Writing changes.
All these symptoms may vary and worsen as the condition progresses.
Stage one is the earliest and mildest form of Parkinson’s disease. The symptoms at this stage are not severe enough, which is why patients often have no problems while performing everyday tasks. Although the signs might be missed, family and friends of the affected person may notice certain changes in his/her posture, walk, or facial expressions.
The usual symptom of stage one includes tremors and some difficulties in movements that are mainly connected to one side of the body. It’s essential to start with Parkinson’s treatment as soon as you notice some changes. That way, you can effectively mitigate the symptoms.
Stage two is a moderate form of Parkinson’s, and the symptoms are more noticeable than those in phase one. You may experience stiffness, tremors, and trembling, as well as the changes in facial expressions.
Unlike the first stage, where one side of the body is affected, stage two is characterized by the symptoms that feel on both sides of the body. Patients may experience difficulties in walking and speaking, but they can still do some tasks alone.
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Stage three is the middle stage in such a condition, and it’s considered a significant turning point in the progression of Parkinson’s. Although most of the symptoms are the same as in stage two, people may now feel a loss of balance and decreased reflexes.
Therefore, people may experience slower movements that often lead to falls. This stage can significantly affect everyday tasks, but the patients can still perform some of them.
Stage four requires the use of a walker or other types of assistive devices since the movement becomes significantly affected.
During this stage, patients are not recommended to live alone because it can be quite dangerous for them.
The most advanced form of Parkinson’s disease is stage five. During this stage, patients usually experience stiffness in the legs, which leads to freezing upon standing, making it impossible to stand or walk. That said, affected people often need a wheelchair.
Patients at stage five shouldn’t be alone since they might be experiencing hallucinations, delusions, and dementia, which can lead to severe consequences.
Parkinson’s disease is often followed by certain complications that can be treatable. They include:
- Thinking difficulties
- Emotional changes and depression
- Problems with swallowing
- Chewing and eating difficulties
- Sleep disorders
- Bladder problems and constipation
- Blood pressure changes
- Smell dysfunction
- Sexual dysfunction.
What are the Causes of Parkinson’s Disease?
The leading cause of Parkinson’s disease is the death of certain nerve cells. The majority of the symptoms come as a result of a loss of neurons that produce dopamine, which is responsible for creating a chemical messenger in your brain. The decrease of dopamine leads to abnormal brain activity and triggers the onset of Parkinson’s disease.
Still, the actual cause of such a condition is unknown, but some factors may play a significant role in its onset:
- Genes: Although researchers have found out that certain genetic mutations may cause Parkinson’s disease, it is quite rare except in the cases where many family members are affected by such a condition.
- Environment: Again, the risk of environmental factors is relatively small, but exposure to specific toxins or chemicals may trigger the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Apart from the potential causes mentioned above, you should also have in mind the following risk factors:
- Age: The risk of Parkinson’s disease increases with age, which means that young adults are rarely affected. That said, middle-aged and older people are at a higher risk of developing such a condition.
- Heredity: You are more prone to Parkinson’s if some of your family members have it.
- Gender: It’s considered that men are more likely to develop Parkinson’s than women.
What is the Best Treatment for Parkinson’s?
As mentioned in the earlier paragraphs, Parkinson’s disease can’t be cured. However, there are some medications and therapies that can significantly help you reduce the symptoms and notice improvements. Still, some more advanced changes may require surgery.
Apart from medications, your doctor may also recommend some lifestyle changes, functional neurology, physical therapy, and a visit to the speech-language pathologist that can help you improve your speech abilities.
Another efficient Parkinson’s treatment involves Eastern medicine approaches such as Chinese herbs and acupuncture. Both therapies have brought significant improvements to patients with Parkinson’s disease, especially when used together.
Acupuncture and Parkinson’s
Acupuncture is considered the best complementary therapy in patients with Parkinson’s disease. It has a great therapeutic effect for PD, which means that it reduces tremor, decreases the dosage of antiparkinsonian drugs, decreases their side effects, and improves daily life.
Acupuncture involves the use of small, thin, and stainless-steel needles, which the practitioner uses to stimulate specific acupoints found on different body parts. The main purpose of acupuncture is relieving the energy that’s stuck in a person’s body and impacting the blood flow. Namely, poor blood circulation and the lack of energy are often responsible for the onset of many diseases.
There are many different acupuncture styles, and each of them can be used as a treatment for various diseases. When it comes to acupuncture for Parkinson’s disease, we should mention the following types:
Scalp Acupuncture for Parkinson’s
Scalp acupuncture involves the insertion of small and thin needles into the specific acupoints of the scalp. The stimulation of those points will increase blood flow and oxygenation, as well as lead to improved function of brain tissues.
It was developed by a neurologist who was familiar with modern maps of the brain, and it’s proven its efficiency in improving the symptoms of various neurological disorders. Scalp acupuncture is primarily practiced in China, but its use in the US has also increased during the last couple of years. It’s mostly implemented for treating the symptoms of a stroke, head trauma, cerebral palsy, encephalitis-meningitis sequalae, multiple sclerosis, dementia, memory loss, cortical blindness, nerve deafness, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease.
Scalp acupuncture is also known as neuro acupuncture.
Many practitioners tend to combine scalp acupuncture with electrical stimulation in order to provide better and more permanent results. Such a method may improve many aspects of the condition and improve motor functions in people with Parkinson’s.
Bee Venom Acupuncture
One of the most common acupuncture styles used for treating the symptoms of Parkinson’s is bee venom acupuncture. It is a form of therapy in which practitioners apply bee venom to the tips of acupuncture needles and apply them to acupoints on the skin.
You should know that bee venom is quite a complex liquid that consists of many anti-inflammatory substances such as melittin, adolapin, and apamin. Bee venom acupuncture has been widely used for treating many musculoskeletal diseases such as frozen shoulder, as well as for alleviating the symptoms of neurological disorders that include stroke and Parkinson’s disease.
The procedure is generally safe, but it’s essential to choose the right practitioner that will do it without potential risks.
Chinese Herbs for Parkinson’s Disease
In order to provide you with the most efficient results, practitioners tend to combine acupuncture with Chinese herbs. Chinese herbs are known for their efficiency in treating different kinds of diseases, including Parkinson’s.
Herbal therapy has helped a lot of patients with Parkinson’s disease since it significantly reduced the symptoms such as muscle tremors and slowness of movement and rigidity, which often come as a result of dopamine deficiency. Besides, Chinese herbs boost the immune system, making sure the patient becomes more resistant to developing different conditions.
Depending on your overall health, medicines you take, and your condition’s stage, a practitioner will prescribe an adequate herbal therapy for you.
Natural Remedies for Parkinson’s
Therapies that involve the use of drugs aren’t always the right solution for people with Parkinson’s disease. Therefore, you’re advised to implement some of the Parkinson’s natural treatment options that may be healthier and more efficient than the majority of therapies that include medications.
Some of the things you can do to prevent the progression of the disease and reduce the symptoms are:
One of the things your doctor or practitioner may recommend you is daily physical activity. Namely, exercise is a critical factor that helps you manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, primarily because it impacts the dopamine release that improves motor issues like stiffness, tremors, and muscle freezing.
Apart from reducing motor difficulties, exercise (especially yoga and tai chi) helps you regulate mood and eliminate the risks of depression. Physical activity can help you slow or delay the progression of Parkinson’s disease.
Forced exercise mostly refers to riding a stationary bike at high speed, which is considered beneficial for reducing the majority of Parkinson’s symptoms, improving brain connections, boosting agility, reducing or eliminating tremors, improving walking speed, and enhancing the sense of smell.
However, it’s not recommended to start with forced exercise without consulting with your doctor or practitioner first.
Apart from exercise, you can implement some other methods of Parkinson’s natural treatment. Such methods may include:
- Massage therapy: Therapeutic massage has always been an excellent way of treating stiffness and pain that comes as a result of Parkinson’s disease. Besides, massage releases neurotransmitters in the brain.
- Singing: In addition to speech therapy programs you’re advised to go, singing can bring outstanding results as well. Namely, it helps you improve voice volume and social interactions, which encourages you to go outside and spend more time with friends.
- Physical therapy: You should consider physical therapy since it can help improve flexibility, balance, and gait. It is an excellent opportunity for people with Parkinson’s to overcome common walking problems.
- Occupational therapy: Therapists can help you improve your ability to do everyday tasks, such as dressing or brushing your teeth. Such treatment is convenient for people with early stages of Parkinson’s that live alone.
- Swallowing therapy: These therapies can help you enhance your swallowing ability or help you learn how to live with the swallowing changes caused by Parkinson’s disease.
- Aqua therapy: Physical therapies held in the pool can help you overcome the fear of falling and make you move more freely.
Get the Best Acupuncture Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease at Makari Wellness
Thanks to the holistic approach created by certified practitioners at Makari Wellness, our patients leave the clinic with significant and noticeable improvements and the enhanced immune system. Our unique combination of functional movement and neurology, neuro acupuncture, and supplementation can improve parkinsonian symptoms and slow the degenerative process to maximize an individuals activities of daily living and dignity.
If you’re feeling any symptoms that might indicate the onset of Parkinson’s disease of have received a diagnosis, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (888) 871-8889 and book your appointment of acupuncture for Parkinson’s.