Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson’s Awareness Month

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month.

Parkinson’s disease is a misunderstood disease. Many people associate the disease with an elderly relative or the odd celebrity on TV. The majority of people understand it to be “just the shakes”. The reality is much different. Parkinson’s is a very individual condition with each person experiencing different symptoms.

Here are some statistics on Parkinson’s disease:

  • Parkinson’s is the second most common neurological disease in Australia after dementia.
  • The disease affects an estimated 10 million individuals worldwide – 100,000 in Australia.
  • 32 Aussies are diagnosed with the disease every day.
  • 20% of sufferers are under 50 years. 10% are diagnosed before the age of 40.
  • The number of people with Parkinson’s has increased by 17% in the last six years.
  • To compare, the prevalence of Parkinson’s is greater than prostate, bowel and many other forms of cancer. The total number of Parkinson’s sufferers is 4 times the number of people suffering from MS.

What is Parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson’s is a progressive, degenerative neurological condition that affects a person’s control of their body movements. Parkinson’s results from the loss of cells in various parts of the brain, including a region called the substantia nigra. When dopamine production is depleted, the motor system nerves are unable to control movement and coordination. The dopamine-producing cells decrease over a period of years and the motor type symptoms such as tremor, rigidity, etc will start to appear.

Additionally, non-motor symptoms such as sleep disturbance, constipation, and loss of sense of smell can pre-date the motor symptoms, such as tremor, slowness of movement or rigidity, by up to a decade.

Motor Symptoms of Parkinson’s

  • Slowed movement (bradykinesia) – Over time, Parkinson’s disease may reduce your ability to move and slow your movement.
  • Rigid muscles– stiff muscles can limit your range of motion and cause you pain.
  • Resting tremor – A tremor, or shaking, usually begins in a limb, often your hand or fingers.
  • Posture and balance – Your posture may become stooped, or you may have balance problems.
  • Gait Problems –  Gait issues such as freezing, shuffling, drooped shoulders and lack of arm swing.
  • Facial Expressions – People with Parkinson’s often have reduced facial expression referred to as masking.

Non-Motor Symptoms of Parkinson’s

  • Cognitive impairment – This can range from mild memory difficulties such as thinking quickly, manage multiple tasks to dementia.
  • Anxiety & Depression – This is not simply a reaction to the diagnosis of Parkinson’s, but is instead a part of the disease itself, caused by changes in the chemistry of the brain.
  • Sleep difficulties – such as REM Sleep Disorder.
  • Smell – Loss of sense of smell generally presents prior to any other symptoms appear.
  • Constipation – Could experience reduced movements or difficulty in passing.
  • Speech – Most commonly, the voice becomes quieter. It can also develop a breathy or hoarse quality.
  • Swallowing problems – the slowness of movement that often comes with PD may affect chewing, biting, the ability to work the tongue and the ability to get food or liquid down in one bite.
  • Speech Problems – You may speak softly, quickly, slur or hesitate before talking.
  • Writing problems – your writing may appear small.
  • Vision – Some vision difficulties are related to changes in the movement of the eyeball caused by loss of dopamine neurons.

Parkinson’s disease symptoms affects everyone differently. Many people will experience some symptoms and not others. The progression of the disease also varies between people.


Chiro & Sports Med

Our chiropractors at Chiro & Sports Med are committed to providing chiropractic solutions to address your unique needs, whether you are experiencing a pinched nerve, bulging disc, back painneck pain, knee pain, headaches or even muscular tightness and tension. You may be searching for pain relief after an accident or experiencing injury. Likewise, you may suffer from a specific condition like chronic back pain or a spinal condition. Our mission is to help reduce or eliminate pain and to prevent future problems and injury. Above all, we are here to improve your quality of life, well-being and your ability to live an active healthy lifestyle.

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