According to Wikipedia, a “team is a group of individuals working together to achieve a goal.” But a “group does not necessarily constitute a team.” Teamwork is defined as “the collaborative effort of a team to achieve a common goal or to complete a task in the most effective and efficient way.”
It is essential to have an efficient team when you are fighting a chronic illness. You need family and friends, of course, but when you have Parkinson’s disease (PD), what else are you looking for in terms of medical help? The most obvious answer might be a neurologist, given that PD is a progressive disease of the nervous system. But finding a movement disorder specialist (MDS) in your area also would be highly beneficial.
A movement disorder specialist is a neurologist who has received additional training in Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. They tend to be more up-to-date with the latest treatments, research, and studies. They can be more knowledgeable than a neurologist (in terms of movement disorders, given it is their “specialty”). If you find a good MDS (or neurologist, for that matter), they are worth their weight in gold, and your travel time.
Of course, you’ll want to keep in close contact with your general practitioner (GP), also known as your primary care doctor. What you discuss with your neurologist will more than likely be of importance to your GP, so they can coordinate your overall treatment for the best results.
You may eventually need physical and speech therapists. A physical therapist can help with mobility, rigidity issues, and pain, and this practitioner can help you to slow the progression of your disease. An occupational therapist deals more with the day-to-day tasks that a person with Parkinson’s may be struggling with at their workplace, and getting dressed (buttons, zippers, shoelaces, writing, and more).
Speech therapists (or speech pathologists) treat speech, language, swallowing disorders, and more. This type of therapist is beneficial if you are having problems swallowing or speaking. You may benefit from seeing a psychiatrist or a psychologist if you feel you are struggling with cognitive issues or depression.
Good friends and loving family members can be the most valuable players on your team as they encourage you to keep going, take time to sit, talk with you, or take a walk with you. Together, as a team, you will play your best at this game of PD if you and your team are headed toward the same goal.
Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.