Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Coping with Three Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease and Arthritis

PD Rigidity, Stiffness and Balance combined with Arthritis

Sometimes when you have an incurable chronic disease it's amazing how much difference losing or gaining a few symptoms will make. I have both osteoarthritis in my knees and Parkinson's disease in the rest of my body. It's the arthritis and the PD rigidity and stiffness that really slows me in the tasks of daily living and keeps me from doing more low impact exercises like walking or biking. It is also difficult to distinguish which symptom is arthritis and which is PD and this difficulty may affect the way that I approach the issue.

One problem with a PD patient also having arthritic knees is that the mainstream options are not always open for treatment. I discussed this with a former physician a few years ago. It was a disappointing conversation. Perhaps I'll revisit the topic with my new doctor.

Today if I walk too far, lean over or kneel down on the floor I feel pain. The pain and the stiffness limits how much and how fast I can move. While I can walk without a cane, I feel more secure with it - it helps relieve some of the stress on the left knee which is both the PD side and the badly arthritic knee - and it creates a stability in public places filled with jostling people and in private places with energetic dogs. Moreover, I can walk faster with it. What I haven't been able to do for a few years in climb a ladder, get under a sink to make plumbing repairs, walk upstairs without holding the handrail with one hand, the cane in the other and yearn for that third hand to tote the tool box.

Now that the weather is getting warmer I'm hoping to be able to work on my house and yard. I haven't been able to do that for two or three years but if I can successfully move without much pain it will make life easier for my wife and help me feel better about life. I have the skills, I just don't have a cooperative body.

I don't take any painkillers for my knee; my doctor feels it's better to avoid them if I can. I added the glucosamine-chondroitin sulfate, omega 3-6-9 fish oil to the other supplements which include vitamin D & A and CoQ10. I tried a shot of Cortisone once but it did nothing for me. I work out on Nautilus machines six days a week. Been doing it for six months and that seems to be helping my knee a lot. It is also strengthening abs, arm and the leg muscles which should help my knee.

If you've read this before you know that I also get a Swedish massage for one hour, once a week for the last year with a few time-outs on the massage for a postural alignment to help my bowed legs which may be a result of the arthritis. The results of using the Swedish massage are amazing for me, the knee pain goes completely away for 2-3 days, sometimes longer. My legs are becoming a little straighter the therapist says.

Since Arthritis and Parkinson's symptoms vary from individual to individual you shouldn't be surprised that what I do may not work for everyone. You need to find a well trained, licensed massage therapist...who knows about Parkinson's disease. She/he will evaluate your condition and design a program to fit your symptoms. I'm hoping to get rid of these symptoms, I'm hoping you will be have success too.

1 comment:

  1. At 42 I have stiffness too, even without PD. Some of the stiffness on my right side is from scoliosis. I have to stretch that side more than the left side. When I was at the doctor recently, I asked about the stiffness I get when sitting for awhile (driving 40 min. to work, watching a movie), and was told that it is called theater knee or secretary's knee ( I've started running again, not to help my legs, but to help my abs. The first time out in a long time and the only soreness I had was in the abs.


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