Pain and fatigue are common non-motor symptoms of Parkinson's that can be challenging to manage and often go untreated. In our webinar on pain and fatigue, expert panelists discussed why these symptoms arise and how to best manage them and provided insights into new potential treatment options.
Here are some of the most common questions received from our audience during the presentation that were addressed by our expert panelists and our on-staff movement disorder specialist:
What types and amounts of exercise can help with pain and fatigue associated with Parkinson's?Many different types of exercise can be beneficial for people with Parkinson's disease (PD), including non-contact boxing, tai chi, dancing and cycling, as some examples. If you have limited mobility, you can try chair yoga or other seated exercises. Whichever exercise you choose, make sure it is something safe and enjoyable so that you can stick with it.
It's very important to pace yourself and know your limitations in your chosen exercise regimen. If you experience extreme pain or fatigue following exercise, modify your routine and choose less intensive types of exercise. Even the simplest exercise, including walking your dog or puttering around the house, can help alleviate symptoms of pain and fatigue.
Our patient panelist recommended working with your movement disorder specialist and a physical therapist to create an exercise plan that works best for you.
Watch our Ask the MD video on exercise to learn more.
How can you tell whether symptoms of fatigue are associated with Parkinson's or are related to something else, such as in aging or depression?
Fatigue in Parkinson's is defined as a sense of extreme exhaustion not explained by medications or other conditions that interferes with your normal functioning; it can be mental and/or physical. There are a few signs that indicate your fatigue may be caused by Parkinson's.
If your fatigue does not improve significantly with rest or if it gets worse during “off” periods (the time when Parkinson's medications wear off and symptoms, both motor and non-motor, return), then it may be associated with PD. Parkinson's fatigue should improve with exercise.
Talk with your doctor who can help you determine whether symptoms of depression or sleep disturbances are present and need to be evaluated further, as these can contribute to fatigue.
Why is it important to talk to your doctor about taking vitamins to help with pain or fatigue?Although taking certain vitamins or supplements can be effective for individuals in managing their pain and fatigue, it's important to remember that just because something is over-the-counter doesn't mean it's safe for you; vitamins and supplements can cause potential side effects or drug interactions. Certain supplements can interact with Parkinson's medications, and some vitamins, such as Vitamin B and Vitamin E, may cause side effects if taken at high doses.
Since there are no guidelines about taking vitamins and supplements for Parkinson's, it's important to ask your doctor about your specific needs. Your doctor can provide greater guidance on what vitamin or supplement might be helpful for you, the right dose to take and when it's best to take them.
To learn more about managing pain and fatigue in Parkinson's, sign up to watch the full webinar.
View archived presentations of our previous Third Thursday webinars on other important aspects of living with Parkinson's disease.