Help your brain COMPENSATE for its dysfunctional pathways.
Check out these pages for more information:
Let the medical professionals search for solutions to Parkinson's.
This site proposes practical compensation techniques available to you.
Parkinson's is primarily brain damage caused by the slow demise over time
of dopamine manufacturing cells in the Substantia Nigra of the midbrain.
The damage causes a distortion of the neuronal signals to other parts of
the brain which, in turn, causes the observed symptoms.
The brain tries to compensate for the distortions, but eventually becomes
overwhelmed. PWP can continue to compensate for the symptoms by
consciously controlling many of the well-learned behaviors (i.e. automatic
The primary, often unspoken, needs of persons living
with Parkinson's (PWP) are safety and independence
but the recommendation by health professionals is "EXERCISE" "EXERCISE".
Foster, E,R. (2014).
Instrumental activities of daily living performance among people with Parkinson's disease without dementia.
The American journal of occupational therapy : official publication of the American Occupational Therapy Association.
Working with PWP is about training cognitive control of their particular
Health professionals must make training attentional endurance and conscious control the
primary focus for persons struggling to maintain their safety and independence.
For years your brain has been COMPENSATING for the loss of dopamine without you noticing.
Navntoft, C.A. and Dreyer, J.K. (2016).
How compensation breaks down in Parkinson's disease: Insights from modeling of denervated striatum.
When you begin to notice your slower pace, your softened voice, or choking a little more lately
you compensate by consciously speaking louder, walking faster,
or swallowing carefully. But if you do not pay attention, all those annoyances show up again.
Your neurologist can help suppress some, but not all, movement symptoms.
Martinu, K. and Monchi, O. (2013).
Cortico-basal ganglia and cortico-cerebellar circuits in Parkinson's disease: pathophysiology or compensation?
More importantly, you can do a lot for yourself.
You can train your brain to consciously control habits that threaten your
safety and independence.
Changing a habit is difficult but probably easier the sooner you get started.
Yan, L.R., Wu, Y.B., Zeng, X.H., and Gao, L.C.. (2015).
Dysfunctional putamen modulation during bimanual finger-to-thumb movement
in patients with Parkinson's disease.
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience [electronic resource].
Start by training yourself to be aware of activities or postures you would like to change.
Then supplement your exercise by consciously overriding those risky habits every day.
This site presents training suggestions.
IMPORTANT: Discuss this subject with your neurologist.
Parkinson's Rule # 1: Practice Attentional Endurance during your everyday activities.
Distractions will become more imposing. Refocus often.
Avoid freezing in place. Practice weight transfer.
Balance problems? Use a ski pole.
Parkinson's Rule # 2: Consciously control your critical
movements to maintain your safety and independence.
Do things for yourself.
Being alert builds confidence.
Practice safe movements when you walk, turn, and stand up.
Parkinson's Rule # 3: Build your resilience to the life changes of PD.
Learn, be creative.
Pursue your life purpose.
Maintain a positive attitude.
Develop your strategy to maintain your Safety and Independence
Focus attention to enhance awareness of risky habits.
Consciously control movements to safely override risky habitual activities.
Keep learning to build new brain connections ("use it or lose it").
Vandenbossche, J., Deroost, N., Soetens, E., Coomans, D., Spildooren, J., Vercruysse, S., et al. (2013).
Freezing of gait in Parkinson's disease: disturbances in automaticity and control.
Frontiers in human neuroscience [electronic resource].
NOTE: Recent plans to improve care delivery to persons living with Parkinson's include
teaching PWP to self-manage the symptoms.
Connor, K., Cheng, E., Siebens, H.C., Lee, M.L., Mittman, B.S., Ganz, D.A., et al. (2015).
Study protocol of "CHAPS"randomized controlled trial protocol of Care Coordination for Health Promotion and Activities in
Parkinson's Disease to improve quality of care for individuals with Parkinson's disease.