Parkinson’s Disease Treatment
Treatment of Parkinson’s and Parkinsonian disease is a team effort and should include both a medical neurologist and a functional neurologist. A medical neurologist will support the system with medication. The process of obtaining the right combination of drug therapy can be straightforward or require some tinkering to come up with a regimen that gives you maximum therapeutic benefit while balancing the side effects. Your medical neurologist will take into account disease severity, age, and other medications. They should also take into account your personal preferences.
A board certified chiropractic neurologist (aka functional neurologist) works alongside the medical drug treatment and focuses on gait and balance training, swallowing and speech training, visual training, and various motor training techniques. A functional neurologist uses receptor-based activation and inhibition through neurologic-specific exercises to improve global central nervous system function, which promotes a higher quality of life, increases motor function, reduces the risk of fall and choking, and maintains intellectual function. In addition, dietary modifications are an extremely effective part of managing and slowing the progression of the degenerative process and are always a part of treatment.
Being able to maintain an active lifestyle and exercising regularly is very beneficial for individuals with Parkinson’s. Researchers believe that not only does exercise help maintain and improve some of the hallmark motor symptoms associated with PD, but it is also important in managing depression in PD.
Parkinson’s disease treatment in North Carolina
Treatment at Carolina Brain Center is unique! Our week-long intensive program is based entirely on the premise of neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to make new neuronal connections. This is an important concept in the treatment of diseases that are destroying the neuronal connections as seen with PD. In order to create neuroplastic changes, neurons require a specific frequency of firing, intensity of activation, and duration of activation. Further, all of this must happen within a neuron’s metabolic capacity. If neuronal activity exceeds a neuron’s metabolic capacity, transneural degeneration is the result. This is why the cookie-cutter approach is not only sometimes ineffective, but also has the potential to do more harm than good.
A week-long intensive program (Brain Camp) looks different for every patient we treat because every person is unique. Brain Camp runs from Monday through Friday beginning at 10:00 am and ending at 2:00 pm. There are two 30-minute breaks in order to refuel the system and to rest before the next round of treatment. At the conclusion of the week, diagnostics are performed and compared to prior examination results. Throughout the week, our patients marvel at how fast results come. Following Brain Camp, the journey is not over. Patients are sent home with exercises to complete at home on a daily basis. The home program helps to continue progress and to slow the degenerative process. Hour-long follow-up appointments are scheduled to monitor progress.
Answers about Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease process. The disease results from the malfunction and death of neurons in the brain. Specifically in PD, the neurons affected are in the substantia nigra (SN) of the basal ganglia (BG). The SN produces dopamine, which is the neurotransmitter that sends messages to the part of the brain that controls movement and coordination.
Classic signs of PD include shaking, tremor, rigidity, slowness of movement, difficulty with walking, and problems with balance. People with PD may begin to show more subtle signs long before an official diagnosis is given. Early symptoms include loss of sense of smell, fatigue, excessive saliva, constipation, visual changes, sleep disturbances, lack of facial expressions (hypomimia), mood disorders (such as depression and anxiety), and orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure when standing up). Dopaminergic medication treatment is helpful.
Atypical PD includes Drug-induced Parkinsonism, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), Corticobasal Degeneration (CBD), Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), Vascular Parkinsonism, and Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). For more answers about atypical Parkinson’s disease click here.
Both genetic and environmental factors are attributed to the cause of PD, but the exact cause is unknown. There is presently no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but treatment options include medication therapy, surgery and several complementary therapies that can help manage symptoms. Appropriate treatment can keep most patients working and enjoying an active life for several years or even decades.