Friday, February 6, 2009

Because I Have PD, I'm Trying Yoga and Massage for Osteoarthritis in My Knee

Arthritis in My Knees Makes it More Difficult toWalk with Parkinson's Stiffness

I am focused on Parkinson's disease. I have had it for more than 5 years. It has cost me a job that I loved and the friends I had made there. But the symptoms which bother me the most and affect my lifestyle more than anything else are related to the osteoarthritis that I have in my knees.

Osteoarthritis(OA) is a disease that like PD has no definite cause and no actual cure. There are several knee replacement operations but Dr Lee M Zuckerman, President of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recently warned that for many PD patients the positive effects of the surgery are gone in a year. The problems caused by rigidity, tremors, movement issues at the onset, can lead to secondary medical problems. One primary example is that Parkinson's patients do not walk as much and tend to stay indoors. Lack of exposure to sunlight prevents the body from producing vitamin D and consequently leads to bone loss. He further noted that the lack of bone density, instability (balance) from tremors and rigidity increase risks of osteoporosis, falling and broken bones.

In 1985 unsuccessful knee replacement was performed on Parkinson's patients in the UK. Flexor problems occurred after the surgery. The surgery was completely unsuccessful. In subsequent years this surgery has been performed with little success. The disease itself seems to be a contraindication because of stiffness. In recent years limited success has been achieved due to lessons learned.

One of the most important lessons was that the muscles must be strengthened and the tendons as flexible as possible prior to surgery. For PD patients the disease may be the contraindication to surgery.

There are all kinds of pain killers, a few actually work, none are really intended for long term use. I've tried many of them especially when I was still working. My doctor sent me to physical therapy but it was only twice a week and I had a week long problem.

My search for a solution brought me to massage therapy. One hour of Swedish Massage per week. Massage takes the pain away and the effects remain for 3 to 5 days in my long as I don't over-excercise or walk too far. The only drawback is the cost of $65 per hour which is covered by very few health insurance plans - mine is not one of them. A plus is that massage helps loosen the rigidity and stiffness of Parkinson's. It helps me relax and not feel depressed.

Now that I've seen that alternative medicine can help me, I'm trying several other things: excercise on Nautilus machines, recumbent bikes and aqua therapy. I try to go five times a week, it takes 3 hours a day counting drive time.

I've just started meditating using Yoga breath control and a mandala, I'm hoping all these combined will help my knee back to normal or even anywhere near normal.

I'm going to add vitamin D to my regimen as soon as possible and spend more time outside when the weather warms.

I'm sure these won't be my last alternative treatments, I'll always be open to new or even 5,000 year old ideas.


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5/10/09 UPDATE: I am now trying a simple adjustable hinged knee brace for additional support. I hoped for a miracle, I expected some pain relief. So far it meets my expectations.
12/2009 UPDATE: Turns out I also have weak ligaments on either side of my knee and have a bit of lateral motion ... that doesn't help.

1 comment:

  1. I had found massage therapy to be a blessing! I was going for 2 hour massages twice a month and found that it not only helped with circulation, but also my pain levels tremendously! Not working right now massage has been put aside, I can see and feel the difference without it! So glad it is working well for you! Hugs b'nana


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