My Parkinson’s Treatment Conundrum
I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in November 2015. Since then, I have explored both allopathic and naturopathic solutions.
From a naturopathic perspective, I immersed myself in Parkinson’s disease summer school, which dedicates a week to strategies to improve Parkinson’s outcomes. I also consult with a naturopathic doctor every few months. From a traditional medicine perspective, I consulted with 11 neurologists, seven of whom were movement disorder specialists.
To find the right treatment therapy for me, I have done the following:
- Consulted with general neurologists, movement disorder specialists, and a naturopathic doctor
- Educated myself with online courses and webinars
- Conducted online research
- Joined Facebook groups focused on Parkinson’s disease
I have finally concluded that no single treatment solution is for everyone. We all have unique and distinctive symptoms and different metabolism. I have traveled a rocky road over the past few years trying various medications and therapies for symptom relief.
My allopathy vs. naturopathy conundrum
As much as I am resistant to the idea of taking medications, I have learned to accept that I must take them to allow me to work out. My goal has always been to use exercise to ease my symptoms and slow disease progression.
The neurologists and the naturopathic doctor I consulted agree that exercise is one of the most important therapies for treating Parkinson’s.
Allopathic and naturopathic doctors sometimes have different opinions about using supplements and prescription drugs. My naturopathic doctor (ND) believes supplements can enhance the impact of prescription drugs. Also, she believes they might allow for the possibility of lower dosages of medications.
One of the movement disorder specialists (MDS) I visited did not approve of most of the supplements the ND recommended. He indicated there were no large-scale trials conducted that confirmed or denied how the supplements might interfere with the drugs or other body functions.
I respect the opinions of both the MDS and the ND and work closely with both of them to come up with a treatment plan we all can agree to.
The beauty is in the balance
I now realize that symptom relief is not achieved with an all or nothing scenario.
After much trial and error, I have come up with a combined naturopathic and allopathic approach that works for me. This solution allows me to accept and adjust to my “new normal” with no side effects and some symptom relief. This is the list that works for me and may not be appropriate for you. Always consult your doctors before making any changes to your health regimen.
My list includes:
- Frequent exercise
- Eating a plant-based diet
- Physical and speech therapy
- Vitamins B12, C, and D3 (based on blood test deficiencies)
- Fish oil
- Infrared light therapy
My way of thinking may have hindered my progress to reach this point. After all the therapies I had done, I expected to feel like I did before I was diagnosed. Because I have a disease of the brain, that is unlikely to happen. Plus, as one ages (I am five years older now than I was when diagnosed), sometimes it is difficult to determine if a symptom (balance, slow movement, cognitive issues) is age-related or caused or accelerated by Parkinson’s disease.
Of course, this current regimen will need tweaking as time goes by. Dosages may have to be increased, not because the drugs lose their efficacy, but because Parkinson’s is a progressive disease.
As a person with Parkinson’s, the ball is in my court to find the right solution for me. Because we all have a different manifestation of the disease, everyone with Parkinson’s must find their unique treatment plan. It helps to arm ourselves with knowledge about our condition. We should not be afraid to challenge our treatment professionals. After all, we have the most experience in knowing how Parkinson’s affects our bodies.
“The conflict between preventive health and conventional medicine is not an either-or situation. For example, we will always need emergency rooms and people will always require health care services; yet it has become clear to me that the approach must be natural, it must be preventative, and must be individual.” – James L. D’Adamo
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.