There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but it can be managed, relieving the symptoms of the disease. Treating Parkinson’s disease is often a team effort involving a number of specialists in addition to your neurologist.
The goals of treatment vary for each person, but in most cases, treatment for Parkinson’s disease is designed to maintain overall quality of life, improve mobility and function, reduce rigidity and tremor, and maintain mental sharpness.
Since most symptoms of PD are caused by the lack of dopamine in the brain, many Parkinson’s drugs are “dopaminergic” – aimed at either temporarily replenishing dopamine or mimic the action of dopamine. These medications generally help reduce muscle rigidity, improve speed and coordination of movement and lessen tremor.
Most people with Parkinson’s disease can be treated using prescribed medications. If you react adversely to medications, or if the medications become ineffective, surgery may be advised.
Complementary or alternative therapy may also be used to treat Parkinson’s disease. Persons with PD who are seeking relief from their symptoms may decide to explore these therapies, which can support or complement Western or traditional medicine. There are many modalities of complementary medicine such as herbs, vitamins and supplements. Keep in mind that most herbs and supplements have not been rigorously studied as safe and effective treatments for Parkinson’s disease. The FDA does not strictly regulate or monitor herbs and supplements.
Relaxation practices (such as yoga and meditation) have also been suggested to help with stress, depression, and anxiety. Medical studies have shown that relaxation techniques may help slow the progression of symptoms as well as quicken healing time after surgeries or injuries.
Exercise does make a difference. A number of studies show the benefits of a well rounded exercise program, which includes stretching, strengthening and aerobics (increased heart rate). Dance and non-contact boxing have been shown to be quite helpful with strength, flexibility and balance. People with PD benefit from exercise in the same ways as everyone else, with improved health, sleep and overall overlook. Research suggests exercise may have a special role in PD by increasing dopamine in the brain.
Eating a well balanced diet, drinking lots of water and controlling your weight are even more important if you have PD. You will want to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fluids to combat constipation.
The Parkinson Support Center believes that decisions about medical care must occur between a patient and a trusted medical professional. The information presented on this website is not intended to replace or interfere with the course of your medical care. It is intended only to assist you in your understanding of Parkinson’s disease.
No information contained on this website is offered or intended as medical advice.
We cannot endorse any treatments described on sites that we link to. We recommend that treatment decisions are based on personal treatment goals with a trusted clinician with experience in the care of Parkinson’s disease, or a physician who can work in conjunction with a PD specialist.