Non Surgical Options for PD Treatment
By Dr. Dean P. Sutherland
For most people diagnosed with Parkinson Disease, surgery will not be an option for various reasons. Treatment for PD should be highly individualized and should begin as soon as you are aware that you have PD. In early PD, treatment with medications or surgery may not be necessary at all.
Exercise & Fitness
It is clear from many studies and from our experience that physical activity is extremely important for all PD patients, whether early in the process or late. The goal is to keep you doing the things that you would like to do or need to do, such as playing Tennis or driving to the store and back successfully. Exercise and Physical Fitness regimens can keep you fresh and in shape and keep your symptoms at bay for longer than we first imagined. We can help to design an exercise program that fits your needs and provide you with your own Personal Fitness Trainer. Club memberships are available through the Sarasota Memorial’s HealthFIT at the Institute for Advanced Medicine and the YMCA here in Sarasota, Florida. A fitness plan can be designed just for you, by our physicians and one of our community fitness partners.
Physical, Occupational & Speech Therapy
When a more specific and supervised routine is required, consultation and treatment with a Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, and/or Speech Therapist is an integral part of PD treatment for many patients. Free assessments are completed right here at the Southeast Center for Parkinson Disease and therapies can be completed here at the Institute as well. Dr. Dean Sutherland reviews all ongoing therapeutic results of patients.
When medication is necessary or desirable, there are many options, new and old, as well as up and coming drugs. The main medicinal treatments are mostly aimed at providing stimulation for dopamine receptors in the brain, either with real dopamine (Sinemet, Stalevo, Parcopa), with “fake dopamine” (Mirapex, Requip, Neupro, Apokyn), or with medications that keep the dopamine around longer (Azilect, Eldepryl, Comtan). Other medications (Artane, Amantidine, Provigil, Ritalin, and others) act by completely different mechanisms. Botox therapy is extremely useful in Parkinson Disease, with dramatic improvement seen in painful dystonia (cramps) and for severe drooling, with results lasting for 1-6 months or on average three months. Recent years have seen exciting progress in medication options for Parkinson Disease. At the Center, we keep current on medication advances so that patients are assured the best possible set of medication options for their particular situation.
Neuropsychology & Support Groups
Education and emotional support is another arm of treatment that is usually not considered outside of specialized Centers such as ours, yet it makes all the difference in the world for the patient as well as the supporting family, spouse, or significant other. Treatment of depression, obsessions, mood changes, hallucinations, sexual dysfunction, bladder symptoms, constipation and other “non-motor” aspects of the disease has become the “hot topic” of the last couple of years in the PD literature. Good comprehensive care of PD has always encompassed these aspects.
Assistance with Daily Living
At the Center, the approach is multi-pronged; expert advice, education, exercise, support, medicines, rehabilitation, supplements, assistive devices and surgical options are all considered and readily available.