Neurological and Spine Institute

Medication is often the first type of treatment. With Parkinson’s Disease and other movement disorders, oral medication taken at home can often help manage symptoms.  The neurologists work closely with each patient to monitor dosages, effectiveness and side effects.

Surgical Treatments

Surgical treatments are available for patients with certain diagnoses if medication and therapies are not working.

With DBS, the goal is to manage the condition with electrical impulses, similar to how a pacemaker uses electrical impulses to manage the heart’s rhythm. With DBS, an electrode is implanted into the brain and managed by a small pacemaker-like device.

Instead of using medication or electricity, this technique uses highly focused ultrasound waves to create an ablation (like small scar tissue) to block the pathway of the brain causing the tremor. Currently this is FDA approved to treat Essential Tremor and Tremor-Dominant Parkinson’s Disease. This is most appropriate if only one side of the body is impacted by the severe tremor.

Supportive Therapies and LVST BIG & LOUD

Gaining and maintaining functional movement is an important aspect of treatment for individuals with movement disorders. Physical, occupational and speech therapy may each play a role in symptom treatment as well as delay or prevent disability with some conditions.

LVST BIG and LOUD are intensive programs tailored to each patient. LVST BIG is where patients work through exercises with physical and occupational therapists to improve their walking, gait, balance and endurance.  LVST LOUD helps people improve their communications skills and is done with Speech Language Pathologists.

Exercise Program

In addition to formal therapies, a regular exercise program emphasizing large movements is an important part of many treatment plans to maintain mobility, flexibility and balance.  Research sponsored by the Parkinson’s Foundation has established that individuals who start exercising earlier and who exercise at least 2 ½ hours a week experienced a slower decline in quality of life due to their Parkinson’s Disease.

Riverside Wellness and Fitness Centers offers Maintaining Movement Classes specifically designed for people living with Parkinson’s Disease.  Other exercises noted by the Parkinson’s Foundation and the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research include tai chi, yoga, non-contact boxing, ballroom dancing and weight-lifting.  Talk to your provider before starting an exercise regimen to understand what type of exercise would be safe and appropriate for you.

Mental Health

With Parkinson’s Disease and other movement disorders, the disease can impact brain chemistry causing anxiety and depression in addition to tremors. While not every patient experiences these mood changes, it is important to speak to your provider if you notice changes in yourself or your loved one so that it can be addressed.