Thursday, November 12, 2009

If It's Not Parkinson's, It's Something Else

PD, Arthritis and Ligaments - Will Yoga Help?

Well over a year ago I started Aqua and Dry Land physical therapy after being diagnosed with Osteoarthritis to accompany my Parkinson's disease.  I'm now the patient of a different doctor and he thinks it's not the arthritis but rather the ligaments which are causing the knee problems. I'm going in soon for Xrays which will hopefully give him enough information to make a new diagnosis.  This could mean the difference between knee replacement or arthroscopic surgery.  Since he also wants an MRI, to which I am averse (spelled claustrophobic), I have been motivated to research ligament issues and to find ways to improve their strength.

As it happens, a few weeks ago I signed up for a series of Yoga classes which started yesterday at the physical therapy center where I am a member. The classes will run through the winter.  So far it is just me and many women being led by a therapist from the execise center.  The other men don't know what they're missing.

This is just what I need to strengthen the muscles around my knees and possibly avoid either of the operations I mentioned. The Wellness Center is part of a Senior Center. Because they were tight for space on our first class day, we were assigned the room used for the sanctuary.which is a beautiful spiritual space in which to learn yoga.

To accommodate the predominatly elderly demographic, the yoga poses that we were taught were performed on mats on the floor or sitting in chairs depending on individual flexibility and ability to move down to the floor and back.
I was a chair person but by the time the class was over I was starting to feel less rigid. I usually limit my walking because if I walk too far my knee becomes painful or sometimes just gives out.  Inspired by the class, I walked all the way from the synagogue building beck to the aquatic center through about a quarter mile of walkways.  It was certainly easier because the surface was level and not slippery. But mainly I think that I was less tense - more relaxed...confident.

Another important issue is the possibility that there may be some relief of this pain in my future.  It is often important to have another medical opinion.


FYI: November is National Caregiver month and the Parkinson's Disease Foundation (PDF) will be providing tips and resources for care partners and family members on Tuesday, November 17th at 1:00 pm ET.  You can watch online of call the toll-free number to listen in.  The phone number will be provided after registration.  You can get more information at PDF.

November 2009 observes:

*   American Diabetes Month
*   Diabetic Eye Disease Month
*   National adoption Month
*   National Family Caregivers Month
*   National Hospice Palliative Care Month
*   Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Month
*   World COPD Day - November 18th
*   National Suicide Survivors of Suicide Day - November 21st         

The 2010 Health Observances Calendar sans an April mention of Parkinson's disease.


  1. You might look for an open MRI facility. They are designed for people who either will not fit into traditional machine or are claustrophobic. Also, I have had MRIs, CTs, and even a PET scan, and they really are not that bad. For the MRI you are have intercom contact with the techs. Depending on the machine, to get your knee, your head might actually be sticking out of the end of the machine.

  2. I've been getting prolotherapy injections to tighten my knee's ligaments. They were too loose, with the result that the knee hyperextended too much and put too much stress on the IT band, giving me tendinitis at the IT band attachment at Gerdy's tubercle. The injections hurt a lot, but it works. The knee has gotten noticeably tighter and I can now run 50 minutes without pain.

  3. Prolotherapy is even suggested by the Mayo Clinic. What is most important is to make sure that your doctor is well trained and qualified to perform the injections. And make sure that you have the right medication for pain as this procedure is all about inflammation and irritation.
    Glad it is working for you


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