Physical therapy helps patients with their posture, gait, arm swing and cadence, as well as learn how to use their assistive devices such as walkers or canes, according to Dr. Husain Wilson. But it requires commitment from the patient, she adds. “You need to practice 30 to 60 minutes a day, every day, with your spouse or an aid who can assist you when needed.” FACT: Dr. Husain Wilson says she is saddened by the thought that some people believe this to be true. “As patients with Parkinson’s learn very quickly when they seek care at Marcus Neuroscience Institute, in addition to medications such as levodopa, there are many other therapies that can help you live with the disease and maintain a good or even great quality of life,” she says. Occupational therapy helps with daily living skills such as feeding, grooming, toileting and bathing, Dr. Husain Wilson says, and speech therapy is extremely beneficial because Parkinson’s patients also have problems with voice projection and swallowing. “We even address what type of diet they should be eating, given some of the limitations caused by their disease.”
FACT: “We know this is not true because 30 percent of patients with Parkinson’s disease do not experience tremors,” says Dr. Husain Wilson. “I can’t tell you how many patients I’ve encountered who said, ‘I didn’t think it was Parkinson’s because I don’t have tremors.’ They delayed seeing their primary care physician or a neurologist simply because the motor symptoms they were experiencing – stiffness, rigidity or balance issues – didn’t include tremors.” Sameea Husain Wilson, D.O., is the director of Movement Disorder Neurology at Marcus Neuroscience Institute
MYTH #2: Aside from medication, there isn’t much you can do to treat Parkinson’s disease. MYTH #1: Everyone with Parkinson’s disease has tremors.
Marcus Neuroscience Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital “With HiFU, we can reduce or eliminate tremors in some patients by using ultrasound beams to destroy lesions in the thalamus that are creating an abnormal circuit in the brain,” Dr Husain Wilson says. “It’s a minimally invasive, image-guided procedure that can be performed painlessly, without anesthesia, while the patient is awake and responsive.” FACT: “There is such a large constellation of symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease, and not all patients have tremors or will develop disabling dyskinesias – involuntary uncontrollable movements of one or more parts of the body, particularly the head, arms or legs – commonly associated with Parkinson’s,” says Dr. Husain Wilson. But for patients who do have dyskinesias, she says HiFU can reduce tremors by precisely targeting ultrasound beams through the skull to the thalamus, the pea-sized structure in the brain responsible for transmitting 98 percent of sensory information to the brain’s cortex, including vision, taste, touch and balance.
MYTH #3: All Parkinson’s patients are candidates for High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HiFU) therapy. Walking and other exercises are extremely beneficial for people living with Parkinson’s, as is aqua therapy, according to Dr. Husain Wilson. “When patients are walking in water, the buoyancy of the water helps them move in a way that they cannot on land.” Riding a stationary bike is also helpful, she says. “Yoga and tai chi, too – they’re wonderful for reducing rigidity, boosting core strength, maintaining balance and preserving mobility.”
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