Treatments for Parkinson's
Medications can provide relief from Parkinson’s symptoms for most people, but some surgery options are also available. Incorporating lifestyle changes, especially exercise and a healthy diet can help to alleviate symptoms while a physiotherapist or speech therapist may be able to help you manage your motor symptoms.
Every person with Parkinson’s has a different experience with the condition so it’s important to work with a neurologist or Parkinson’s specialist. Based on their experience they guide you through treatment options and tailor a treatment plan that is best suited for you.
Finding the right medication (or combination of medications) to treat your Parkinson’s symptoms is a process that takes time and effort from you and your specialists. Parkinson’s affects everyone differently, and each person’s response to medication will vary. There is no definitive rule about when you should begin taking medication and what medication will be best suited to you. As Parkinson’s symptoms will continue to progress you may also have to make changes to your medications in consultation with your specialist. It’s important for you to be aware of your symptoms and know what is working and not working for you. This will allow you to discuss these issues with your specialist who may be able to make adjustments to your medications, dosage or timing to help address these issues.
DBS is a surgical therapy for Parkinson’s disease, is typically considered when a person who has had Parkinson’s for four years or more develops complications, such as dyskinesia(uncontrolled, involuntary movements) and/or significant “off” time (when medication isn’t working optimally and symptoms return). Like all currently available Parkinson’s therapies, DBS is a symptomatic treatment — it eases motor symptoms but does not change the underlying course of the disease.
DBS typically works best to lessen motor symptoms like stiffness, slowness and tremor. It doesn’t work as well for imbalance, freezing when walking or non-motor symptoms. DBS may even exacerbate thinking or memory problems so it’s not recommended for people with dementia.
Focused Ultrasound is a noninvasive procedure where researchers use an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machine to view images of a brain in real time while focusing more than 1,000 intersecting beams of ultrasound energy on specific tissue. The ultrasound energy heats and destroys abnormal cells associated with dyskinesia without harming adjacent tissue. No surgery, anesthesia or incisions are required, decreasing the risk of infection, hemorrhage, blot clots and accidental tissue damage.
An important note: While the focused ultrasound procedure requires no surgery and is more easily tolerated than alternatives such as deep brain stimulation, it is irreversible.