There are typical symptoms which present themselves at the early stage, and upon which a Parkinson’s diagnosis is made.
Then there are symptoms which develop over time which may be as a result of Parkinson’s progression or the impact of medications.
Either way, despite the use of medications, symptoms multiply and worsen over time for the majority of people.
The following are the typical symptoms present when we become aware that something is not quite right. The initial symptoms are not confined to this list, but these give a good clue that Parkinson’s issues are in play.
- Muscle Rigidity and Pain. Typically in the back or shoulder area, but not necessarily confined to those areas.
- Loss of Functionality in a Hand. This is usually the loss of fine motor movement and control. An example may be that doing up a button becomes problematic.
- Arm Ceases to Swing when walking.
- Foot drags when Walking. You may not be aware of this, but others may observe it.
- Slowness of Movement, in the affected arm or leg.
- Handwriting becomes Awkward and Shrinks.
- Shaking in a Limb. A tremor is what we typically expect to indicate Parkinson’s, but this may not necessarily be present at the early stage.
Symptoms which develop
“Parkinson’s” is an umbrella term for a whole range of neurological symptoms, which may affect one physically or mentally. This means that people can have any combination and severity of symptoms and why it is said ‘no two people have the same Parkinson’s symptoms’.
Symptoms can progress at varying speeds
The following is a list of symptoms or conditions which we have seen in people with Parkinson’s. These may be a result of Parkinson’s progression or the consequence of medications, but they are seen to be present.
- External Tremor Ranging from a minor tremor in a hand to fairly violent shaking of the entire limb. Stressful situations can trigger the tremor or make it worse.
- Internal Tremor Less easy to describe, but when you’ve got it, you’ll know. Feels as though your insides are shaking.
- Slowness of movement Your hand or leg moves much more slowly. This is termed bradykinesia.
- Rigidity (stiffness) Accompanied by severe pain. May lead to real difficulties rising from a chair or getting out of bed. Can place a big restriction upon any kind of movement.
- Arm swing Arm(s) hangs limp and refuses to swing when walking
- Inability to write Acute difficulty to write by hand. Letters shrink to micro-size as word or sentence is written
- Shuffling when walking Feet shuffle rather than step out using heel. Can cause falls.
- Stoop When standing or walking.
- Freezing Typically occurs when walking, when the feet feel as though they’re glued to the floor. Freezing, though, can occur during any activity.
- Urinary incontinence Sudden and uncontrollable urge to urinate
- Constipation Chronic inability to empty bowel. Often means not sensing that need to go to the toilet.
- Loss of balance Sudden and uncontrollable loss of balance, causing falls.
- Dizziness Often occurs when rising from a sitting position
- Loss of sense of smell/taste
- Brain fog May best be described as feelings of mental confusion or lack of mental clarity, though ‘fog’ is as good a description as any.
- Anxiety Acute anxiety surfaces, even in people who have always had self-confidence.
- Depression Feelings of extreme sadness or emotional emptiness. Much more than temporary feelings of sadness or unhappiness.
- Apathy Feeling of ‘what’s the point?’ and unable to motivate oneself to do anything. Very frustrating for those close to the person.
- Insomnia Chronic sleep issues dog many Parkinson’s people. Lack of sleep contributes to other symptoms.
- Restless Legs Syndrome Occurs whilst resting, and a big bedtime issue, disrupting sleep. Tingling, itching, burning, throbbing etc which creates overwhelming urge to move legs.
- Vivid Dreams Vivid, violent dreams or nightmares can often end with the person waking and finding themselves out of bed.
- Cognitive decline and Memory issues, may be a start towards dementia
- Confusion Suffers from mental confusion
- Speech Soft voice, husky or hoarse. Can develop into more severe condition of slurred speech and inability to pronounce words clearly enough to be understood.
- Facial Expression Blank, expressionless face (mask) which misleads others to misunderstanding your true feelings.
- Swallowing Chewing, swallowing issues. Food sticking in throat.
- Drooling Uncontrollable dribbling from mouth
- Weight Loss Losing weight, no matter how much you eat, often to alarming levels.
- Temperature regulation Inability to tolerate heat or cold, which results in temporary exaggeration of symptoms
- Hallucinations Different types of hallucinations. Can involve seeing, hearing or sensing things that aren’t there or differently to what they are.
- Delusions The can include paranoia, jealousy, or believing you have super powers.
- Pain Different types of pain from a deep or dull ache to shooting pain, affecting any part of the body (muscles, joints, limbs, etc)
- Eyesight Anything from double-vision, dry eyes, blurred vision, difficulty moving eyes, and involuntary opening/closing eyelids
- Dystonia (writhing) Movement disorder resulting in muscle spasms and abnormal posture.
- Dyskinesia Movement disorders that are characterized by involuntary muscle movements, including jerky movements and diminished voluntary movements.
- Stress Inability to handle even minor stressful situations and which exacerbates symptoms, at least temporarily.
- Fatigue This ranges from the requirement to take frequent naps to chronic fatigue and being devoid of all energy.
How do you deal with these symptoms?
This is where you are faced with a choice.
You can go the route of medications, the chosen path of doctors of conventional medicine, are recognized as being able to help reduce the effects of some symptoms for a period of time.
Medications generally come at a price; that being they have side-effects which, in many cases, are equally as unpleasant as symptoms they are trying to control. For a number of the above symptoms there is no medication available.
Alternatively, you can explore this website for therapies which research shows can have a considerable impact on the underlying Parkinson’s condition and individual symptoms.