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Homeopathic treatment of Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic and progressive movement disorder, meaning that symptoms continue and worsen over time. Nearly one million people in the US are living with Parkinson’s disease. The cause is unknown, and although there is presently no cure in modern medicine but in homeopathy there is cure if medicine agree to the patient.
Parkinson’s involves the malfunction and death of vital nerve cells in the brain, called neurons. Parkinson’s primarily affects neurons in an area of the brain called the substantia nigra. Some of these dying neurons produce dopamine, a chemical that sends messages to the part of the brain that controls movement and coordination. As PD progresses, the amount of dopamine produced in the brain decreases, leaving a person unable to control movement normally.The specific group of symptoms that an individual experiences varies from person to person. Primary motor signs of Parkinson’s disease include the following.
- tremor of the hands, arms, legs, jaw and face
- bradykinesia or slowness of movement
- rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and trunk
- postural instability or impaired balance and coordination
Scientists are also exploring the idea that loss of cells in other areas of the brain and body contribute to Parkinson’s. For example, researchers have discovered that the hallmark sign of Parkinson’s disease — clumps of a protein alpha-synuclein, which are also called Lewy Bodies — are found not only in the mid-brain but also in the brain stem and the olfactory bulb.
These areas of the brain correlate to nonmotor functions such as sense of smell and sleep regulation. The presence of Lewy bodies in these areas could explain the nonmotor symptoms experienced by some people with PD before any motor sign of the disease appears. The intestines also have dopamine cells that degenerate in Parkinson’s, and this may be important in the gastrointestinal symptoms that are part of the disease.
The diagnosis of PD depends upon the presence of one or more of the four most common motor symptoms of the disease. In addition, there are other secondary and nonmotor symptoms that affect many people and are increasingly recognized by doctors as important to treating Parkinson’s.
Each person with Parkinson’s will experience symptoms differently. For example, many people experience tremor as their primary symptom, while others may not have tremors, but may have problems with balance. Also, for some people the disease progresses quickly, and in others it does not.
By definition, Parkinson’s is a progressive disease. Although some people with Parkinson’s only have symptoms on one side of the body for many years, eventually the symptoms begin on the other side. Symptoms on the other side of the body often do not become as severe as symptoms on the initial side.
Find out more by reading detailed descriptions of Parkinson’s symptoms below:
- Primary Motor Symptoms
- Secondary Motor Symptoms
- Nonmotor Symptoms
- Coping with Symptoms
Primary Motor Symptoms
Almost 200 years after Parkinson’s was first discovered and after many new discoveries about the biology of the disease, a diagnosis still depends on identifying the core features — tremor, slowness and stiffness — described by James Parkinson. The diagnosis of Parkinson’s does not come from a test, but instead requires a careful medical history and a physical examination to detect the cardinal signs of the disease, including:
- Resting Tremor: In the early stages of the disease, about 70 percent of people experience a slight tremor in the hand or foot on one side of the body, or less commonly in the jaw or face. A typical onset is tremor in one finger. The tremor consists of a shaking or oscillating movement, and usually appears when a person’s muscles are relaxed, or at rest, hence the term “resting tremor.” The affected body part trembles when it is not performing an action. Typically, the fingers or hand will tremble when folded in the lap, or when the arm is held loosely at the side, i.e., when the limb is at rest. The tremor usually ceases when a person begins an action. Some people with PD have noticed that they can stop a hand tremor by keeping the hand in motion or in a flexed grip. The tremor of PD can be exacerbated by stress or excitement, sometimes attracting unwanted notice. The tremor often spreads to the other side of the body as the disease progresses, but usually remains most apparent on the initially affected side. Although tremor is the most noticeable outward sign of the disease, not all people with PD will develop tremor.
- Bradykinesia: Bradykinesia means “slow movement.” A defining feature of Parkinson’s, bradykinesia also describes a general reduction of spontaneous movement, which can give the appearance of abnormal stillness and a decrease in facial expressivity. Bradykinesia causes difficulty with repetitive movements, such as finger tapping. Due to bradykinesia, a person with Parkinson’s may have difficulty performing everyday functions, such as buttoning a shirt, cutting food or brushing his or her teeth. People who experience bradykinesia may walk with short, shuffling steps. The reduction in movement and the limited range of movement caused by bradykinesia can affect a person’s speech, which may become quieter and less distinct as Parkinson’s progresses.
- Rigidity: Rigidity causes stiffness and inflexibility of the limbs, neck and trunk. Muscles normally stretch when they move, and then relax when they are at rest. In Parkinson’s rigidity, the muscle tone of an affected limb is always stiff and does not relax, sometimes contributing to a decreased range of motion. People with PD most commonly experience tightness of the neck, shoulder and leg. A person with rigidity and bradykinesia tends to not swing his or her arms when walking. Rigidity can be uncomfortable or even painful.
- Postural Instability: One of the most important signs of Parkinson’s is postural instability, a tendency to be unstable when standing upright. A person with postural instability has lost some of the reflexes needed for maintaining an upright posture, and may topple backwards if jostled even slightly. Some develop a dangerous tendency to sway backwards when rising from a chair, standing or turning. This problem is called retropulsion and may result in a backwards fall. People with balance problems may have particular difficulty when pivoting or making turns or quick movements. Doctors test postural stability by using the “pull test.” During this test, the neurologist gives a moderately forceful backwards tug on the standing individual and observes how well the person recovers. The normal response is a quick backwards step to prevent a fall; but many people with Parkinson’s are unable to recover, and would tumble backwards if the neurologist were not right there to catch him or her
Secondary Motor Symptoms
In addition to the cardinal signs of Parkinson’s, there are many other motor symptoms associated with the disease.
- Freezing: Freezing of gait is an important sign of PD that is not explained by rigidity or bradykinesia. People who experience freezing will normally hesitate before stepping forward. They feel as if their feet are glued to the floor. Often, freezing is temporary, and a person can enter a normal stride once he or she gets past the first step. Freezing can occur in very specific situations, such as when starting to walk, when pivoting, when crossing a threshold or doorway, and when approaching a chair. For reasons unknown, freezing rarely happens on stairs. Various types of cues, such as an exaggerated first step, can help with freezing. Some individuals have severe freezing, in which they simply cannot take a step. Freezing is a potentially serious problem in Parkinson’s disease, as it may increase a person’s risk of falling forward.
- Micrographia: This term is the name for a shrinkage in handwriting that progresses the more a person with Parkinson’s writes. This occurs as a result of bradykinesia, which causes difficulty with repetitive actions.
- Mask-like Expression: This expression, found in Parkinson’s, meaning a person’s face may appear less expressive than usual, can occur because of decreased unconscious facial movements. The flexed posture of PD may result from a combination of rigidity and bradykinesia.
- Unwanted Accelerations: It is worth noting that some people with Parkinson’s experience movements that are too quick, not too slow. These unwanted accelerations are especially troublesome in speech and movement. People with excessively fast speech, tachyphemia, produce a rapid stammering that is hard to understand. Those who experience festination, an uncontrollable acceleration in gait, may be at increased risk for falls.
Additional secondary motor symptoms include those below, but not all people with Parkinson’s will experience all of these.
- Stooped posture, a tendency to lean forward
- Impaired fine motor dexterity and motor coordination
- Impaired gross motor coordination
- Poverty of movement (decreased arm swing)
- Speech problems, such as softness of voice or slurred speech caused by lack of muscle control
- Difficulty swallowing
- Sexual dysfunction
- Drooling and excess saliva resulting from reduced swallowing movements
Most people with Parkinson’s experience nonmotor symptoms, those that do not involve movement, coordination, physical tasks or mobility. While a person’s family and friends may not be able to see them, these “invisible” symptoms can actually be more troublesome for some people than the motor impairments of PD.
Many researchers believe that nonmotor symptoms may precede motor symptoms — and a Parkinson’s diagnosis — by years. The most recognizable early symptoms include:
- Loss of sense of smell, constipation
- REM behavior disorder (a sleep disorder)
- Mood disorders
- Orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure when standing up).
If a person has one or more of these symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that individual will develop Parkinson’s, but these markers are helping scientists to better understand the disease process.
Other Nonmotor Symptoms
Some of these important and distressing symptoms include:
- Sleep disturbances
- Bladder problems
- Sexual problems
- Excessive saliva
- Weight loss or gain
- Vision and dental problems
- Fatigue and loss of energy
- Fear and anxiety
- Skin problems
- Cognitive issues, such as memory difficulties, slowed thinking, confusion and in some cases, dementia
- Medication side effects, such as impulsive behaviors
What Causes Parkinson’s?
To date, despite decades of intensive study, the causes of Parkinson’s remain unknown. Many experts think that the disease is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, which may vary from person to person.
In some people, genetic factors may play a role; in others, illness, an environmental toxin or other event may contribute to PD. Scientists have identified aging as an important risk factor; there is a two to four percent risk for Parkinson’s among people over age 60, compared with one to two percent in the general population.
The chemical or genetic trigger that starts the cell death process in dopamineneurons is the subject of intense scientific study. Many believe that by understanding the sequence of events that leads to the loss of dopamine cells, scientists will be able to develop treatments to stop or reverse the disease
Read more below about each of these:
- Genetic Factors
- Environmental Factors
The vast majority of Parkinson’s cases are not directly inherited. About 15 to 25 percent of people with Parkinson’s report having a relative with the disease. In large population studies, researchers have found that people with an affected first-degree relative, such as a parent or sibling, have a four to nine percent higher chance of developing PD, as compared to the general population. This means that if a person’s parent has PD, his or her chances of developing the disease are slightly higher than the risk among the general population.
Researchers have discovered several gene mutations that can cause the disease directly, but these affect only a small number of families. Some of these mutations involve genes that play a role in dopamine cell functions. Parkinson’s has developed at an early age in individuals with mutations in genes for parkin, PINK1, LRRK2, DJ-1, and glucocerebrosidase, among others.
Because genetic forms of a disease can be studied in great detail in the laboratory, and because understanding the rare genetic forms of Parkinson’s may help us to understand more common forms of the disease, genetics is currently the subject of intense research.
Some scientists have suggested that Parkinson’s disease may result from exposure to an environmental toxin or injury. Epidemiological research has identified several factors that may be linked to Parkinson’s, including rural living, well water, manganese and pesticides.
Some studies have demonstrated that prolonged occupational exposure to certain chemicals is associated with an elevated risk of PD. These include the insecticides permethrin and beta-hexachlorocyclohexane (beta-HCH), the herbicides paraquat and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid and the fungicide maneb. In 2009, the US Department of Veterans Affairs added Parkinson’s to a list of diseases possibly associated with exposure to Agent Orange.
A synthetic neurotoxin agent called MPTP can also cause immediate and permanent parkinsonism. The compound was discovered in the 1980s in individuals who injected themselves with a synthetic form of heroin contaminated with MPTP. Cases of MPTP-induced Parkinson’s in the general population are exceedingly rare.
It is noted that a simple exposure to an environmental toxin is never enough to cause Parkinson’s. Most people exposed to a toxin do not develop the disease. In fact, there is no conclusive evidence that any environmental factor, alone, can be considered a cause of the disease.
However, environmental factors have been helpful in studying laboratory models of Parkinson’s. Scientists continue to pursue these clues to understand why Parkinson’s disease occurs.
Homeopathic treatment of Parkinson’s Disease
Homeopathy treats the person as a whole. It means that homeopathic treatment focuses on the patient as a person, as well as his pathological condition. The homeopathic medicines are selected after a full individualizing examination and case-analysis, which includes the medical history of the patient, physical and mental constitution etc. A miasmatic tendency (predisposition/susceptability) is also often taken into account for the treatment of chronic conditions. The medicines given below indicate the therapeutic affinity but this is not a complete and definite guide to the treatment of this condition. The symptoms listed against each medicine may not be directly related to this disease because in homeopathy general symptoms and constitutional indications are also taken into account for selecting a remedy. To study any of the following remedies in more detail, please visit our Materia Medica section. None of these medicines should be taken without professional advice.
Weakness of limbs, trembling of extremities, especially hands. Paralytic agitans. Lacerating pain in joints. Cold and clammy sweat on limbs. Oily perspiration.Tremors everywhere in body. Weakness with trembling from least exertion. All symptoms are aggravated at night, warmth of bed, Damp, cold, rainy weather and during perspiration. Complaints increase during sweating and rest. All symptoms always associated with weariness, prostration and trembling.
Slow in answering questions. Memory weakened and loss of will power. Skin alwaysmoist and freely perspiring. Itching worse warmth of bed.
Violent trembling (twitching) of the whole body especially after emotions. Twitching in children. Chorea. Paralysis of hands and feet. Trembling of hands while writing. Lameness, weakness, trembling and twitching of various muscles. Feet in continued motion, cannot keep still. Worse touch, between 5-7 pm., after dinner, better eating, discharges.
When the tremors start with pain which is relieved by motion. There is stiffness of the parts affected. Numbness and formication, after overwork and exposure. Paralysis; trembling after exertion. Limbs stiff and paralysed.All joints hot and painful. Crawling and tingling sensation in the tips of fingers. Worse during sleep, cold, wet rainy weather and after rain, night, during rest, drenching and when lying on back or right side. Better warm, dry weather, motion, walking, change of position, rubbing, stretching out limbs.
Centers its action on nervous system, causing various degrees of motor paralysis…Dizziness, drowsiness, dullness and trembling are the hallmark of this remedy. Trembling ranks the highest in this remedy, weakness and paralysis, especially of the muscles of the head. Paralysis of various groups of muscles like eyes, throat, chest, sphincters and extremities. Head remedy for tremors. Mind sluggish and muscular system relaxed. Staggering gait. Loss of power of muscular control. Cramps in muscles of forearm. Excessive trembling and weakness of all limbs. Worse by dampness, excitement, bad news. Better by bending forwards, profuse urination, continued motion and open air.
It is complimentary to Gelsemium. Memory impaired; easily excited and angered; flatulence and greenish diarrhea.Inco-ordination, loss of control and imbalance with trembling and general debility. Paralysis with mental and abdominal symptoms. Rigidity of calves. Walks and stands unsteadily. Numbness of body. Specially arms.
Trembling, itching and jerking, stiffness of muscles; itching of skin over the affected parts and extreme sensitiveness of the spine. Cannot bear touch. Jerking and trembling are strong indications. Chorea and twitching ceases during sleep. Paralysis of lower limbs with spasmodic conditions of arms. Numbness of legs on crossing them. Paralytic pain in left arm followed by palpitation. Stiffness all over with pain over hips.
Head trembles while eating and when it is raised higher. Knees sink down from weakness. Totters while walking with tendency to fall on one side. Cracking of the knee when moving. Lameness worse by bending. Trembling and pain in limbs. One-sided paralysis worse after sleep. Intensely painful, paralytic drawing. Limbs straightened out and painful when flexed.
It shows special affinity for light haired females especially during pregnancy.
Tremors of the upper extremities with paralytic weakness of the lower limbs. Feels as if limbs are hard and contracted; limbs feel heavy. Feels as if floor is irregular and is obliged to keep his eyes on the ground to guide his feet. Affects the lateral and anterior columns of cord. Does not produce pain. Reflexes always increased. Lateral sclerosis and Infantile paralysis. Finger tips numb. Tremulous, tottering gait. Excessive rigidity of legs with spastic gait. Knees knock against each other while walking. Cannot extend or cross legs when siting.Stiff and lame ankles.
Marked fibrillary tremors and spasms of the muscles, worse from motion or application of cold water. Palpitation and fluttering of the heart felt throughout the body. Depresses the motor and reflex activity of the cord and causes the loss of sensibility to pain, muscle weakness and paralysis. Paralysis and tremors, chorea. Meningeal irritation with rigidity of muscles. Pain in right popliteal space. Burning and tingling in spine. Hands and feet numb with sudden jerking of limbs on going to sleep. Crampy pain in limbs.
Tremors with numbness, limbs go to sleep on the slightest movement, coldness and stiffness of limbs. The finger nails become brittle and are shriveled. Cramps in hands and fingers. Worse grasping anything. Cramps in legs. Extreme nervous hypersensitiveness. Dread of people and desire to be alone. Music causes weeping. One sided complains call for it.