One of the things that makes PD both confounding and fascinating is the myriad of ways in which it affects people and that no two people are the same. It has both motor symptoms, for example, trembling, and nonmotor symptoms, for example, anxiety. And it’s hard to imagine that this condition, with this perplexing combination of symptoms, is primarily the result of a lack of one neurotransmitter … dopamine. But to the best of medical science’s knowledge, this is the case.
When I was first diagnosed, I thought PD was nothing more than trembling. Since then, I have learned on my that it is much more involved. If I had known this up front, I would’ve taken this far more seriously, immediately!
Whenever I find myself dwelling on the symptoms I am experiencing and wanting them to go away … which happens more often than I care to admit … I remind myself to take a different approach. I remind myself … compassionately … to place my mind in the state I want to be in … joyful, excited, enthusiastic, contented!
Trembling isn’t the most troublesome symptom I experience. That distinction goes to loss of balance and freezing, with an honourable mention to constipation. I attribute the minimal trembling I experience to the bodywork I am doing, namely, four chiropractic treatments a month. [A few years ago when I started doing Body Stress Relief therapy, the trembling I was experiencing was reduced by about 75%]
In my last post, I talked about minimizing trembling. One of the techniques I discussed, is focusing on my breath while consciously relaxing every muscle in my body. In other words, using present moment awareness.
Last week, I told you about the challenges I was experiencing, walking. I have been walking on a gravel road and had gotten to the point where I was shuffle-walking pretty badly, particularly when I tried multitasking while walking [thinking about stuff, practicing qigong or bostaff techniques, or just observing my surroundings]. I was starting to not enjoy walking!
Okay, I’m going to do my best to explain this loss of balance phenomenon and how to correct it. It is the most challenging aspect of the neurological condition I’m experiencing and I’m certain I now understand it.
One of the more challenging aspects of my experience with a neurological condition is freezing. Freezing happens when I am unable to move my feet, usually from a standing position. It typically occurs at the most inopportune time, like when I’m losing my balance. I have hurtled headlong into more than one wall because of it.
In those first few moments when I awaken in the morning it feels as though my body is normal. There is no loss of mobility, no loss of balance, no shuffle walking and no tremoring. According to Robert Rodgers in his book, Road to Recovery from Parkinson’s Disease, this happens because of the body’s built-in mechanism to shut down the fight-flight response [the root cause of the symptoms] before, during and after sleep, so that it can get sufficient rest. This explanation makes perfect sense to me and the period of calm is a welcome respite.
Lately I have been feeling a lot of muscle tension, particularly in my shoulders, back, arms, neck and throat [muscle tension is common with PD]. At times it can be very intense, so much so that I have to stop doing what I’m doing and take steps to relieve it. The tension is particularly bad when I’m preparing meals, taking my supplements, doing dishes and frequently when I’m sitting at the computer [anything that involves fine motor skills].
I really enjoy lying in bed first thing in the morning. It is my sanctuary time. The time of day when there is no trembling, no shuffle walking, no dealing with loss of balance and no issues with loss of mobility and dexterity [no struggling with small tasks like doing up zippers]. Although I’m finding it more difficult to lay comfortably, it is still a time of relative peace … and I love it!