Joon Faii Ong is a recognized authority on Parkinson’s Disease and related tremor disorders. He has helped countless patients and their caregivers improve their quality of life as they deal with this debilitating disorder.
Tremors are a symptom of Parkinson’s Disease that can get worse if uncontrolled by medications, causing anxiety to sufferers and their families. Tremors can vary in severity and may occur in the hands, arms, feet, or legs.
Dr. Ong has some advice on caring for patients and loved ones with Parkinson’s. He tells us that there are several key tips to controlling tremors:
Exercise the muscles early in the day to reduce tremors
Exercising muscles early in the day helps to reduce tremors, reduces muscle spasms, and decreases muscle stiffness. Often, patients will experience a decrease in tremors immediately following a session of exercise.
During the day, performing exercises to help relax tight muscles and increase muscle strength can also help reduce tremors. Ways to accomplish this include stretching, yoga, or Pilates.
Massages are another way for patients to improve their quality of life by reducing stress and reducing the rigidity in muscles.
Medication can be taken at night for maximum effect when tremors are worst.
By taking medications at night, patients will sleep through the night and reduce tremors by controlling muscle spasms. This method of medication delivery reduces anxiety for many patients as well.
Medications prescribed to control tremors can have a sedative effect if taken at night, which helps reduce the anxiety that comes from waking up in the middle of the night with uncontrolled tremors.
The use of pillows and blankets can help patients remain comfortable through the night. This is an important step to ensure that they sleep soundly and receive a restful night’s rest.
Gentle exercise of the hands, legs, or arms can improve blood flow and prevent stiffness.
Gentle exercises such as walking, running, or swimming can help prevent stiffness for patients.
Many medications used to treat tremors cause stiffness in the bloodstream, so gentle exercise before taking medication can increase blood flow and reduce stiffness.
Reducing stress with soothing music, aromatherapy, or massage therapy is another way for patients to use their time to reduce anxiety.
Avoid caffeine and nicotine and
Caffeine and nicotine increase the speed of tremors, so patients should stop eating foods high in caffeine or nicotine.
Patients should also avoid alcohol since it is another substance that can cause an accelerated heart rate, leading to tremors.
Snacks such as carrots, apples, and almonds are good choices for patients experiencing tremors because they contain vitamin B6, which helps the body metabolize dopamine, a vital neurotransmitter. Vitamin B can also reduce muscle stiffness and prevent muscle spasms that cause tremors.
Keep the patient’s spirits up and remain positive.
Remember, always remain patient and calm with the person you are caring for.
Remaining patient is key when caring for someone with Parkinson’s disease or related tremors, especially during the disorder’s early stages. He also reminded caregivers to be mindful of their own physical and mental health to perform their duties without becoming ill.