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pain management for parkinsons

Pain Management for Parkinson’s: How to Alleviate Discomfort in Seniors

An often overlooked aspect of Parkinson’s disease is chronic pain and discomfort. While less visible symptoms, they leave both caregivers and seniors searching for techniques for pain management for Parkinson’s. 

For caregivers, family members, and healthcare professionals, it’s important to acknowledge this lesser-known side of Parkinson’s. 

A deeper understanding of all the symptoms, including chronic pain, is essential for providing thorough care. 

This knowledge ensures a more holistic approach, aiming not just to manage symptoms but to improve overall well-being for those living with Parkinson’s. 

At The Kensington Falls Church, we understand that each senior’s journey with Parkinson’s is distinct, and their pain management needs are as unique as their life stories. 

Our specialized community is dedicated to providing unwavering support, offering a holistic approach to comfort and well-being.

Our promise is to love and care for your family as we do our own.

The Parkinson’s challenge—more than just a tremor

Parkinson’s disease is often misunderstood as merely a condition causing tremors, but it’s significantly more complex. 

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological disorder resulting from the degeneration of neurons in a region of the brain that controls movement. This degeneration creates a shortage of the brain chemical dopamine, causing the movement issues characteristic of Parkinson’s.

While tremors are indeed a common symptom, Parkinson’s unfolds with a range of other symptoms: rigidity, slow movement (bradykinesia), and difficulties with balance and coordination are other well-known symptoms.

Beyond these motor symptoms, people living with Parkinson’s can experience a whole spectrum of non-motor symptoms. 

Pain and discomfort, often overshadowed by the more visible signs, are frequent companions and can take a substantial toll on the overall quality of life.

Moreover, Parkinson’s affects more than the individual—it impacts families, friends, and caregivers, who may struggle to find a way to help their loved one. 

Despite its challenges, understanding the multifaceted nature of Parkinson’s disease underscores the necessity for comprehensive care strategies, especially as individuals navigate the lesser-known complexities such as chronic pain.

Progression and impact of Parkinson’s on seniors

  • Initial phase: Often starts with subtle tremors, usually in one hand. Seniors might experience slight changes in posture, walking, or facial expressions.
  • Progressive symptoms: Gradual onset of stiffness and slowed movement, making daily tasks challenging and time-consuming.
  • Advanced stages: Decreased mobility, balance problems leading to falls, difficulty in swallowing and speaking.

Common symptoms and complications of Parkinson’s:

  • Motor symptoms: Tremors, rigidity, bradykinesia (slowed movement), postural instability.
  • Non-motor symptoms: Sleep disturbances, constipation, smell dysfunction, mood disorders (like depression and anxiety).
  • Complications: Difficulty eating, dementia or confusion, increased risk of pneumonia, and other health issues due to decreased mobility and swallowing difficulties.

Pain management for Parkinson’s disease: a silent battle 

An aspect of Parkinson’s that is less discussed but equally debilitating is the silent battle with various types of pain, a reality for many living with the condition.

People with Parkinson’s can experience different forms of pain, such as:

  • Musculoskeletal pain: Often described as aching or discomfort in muscles and bones.
  • Neuropathic pain: A sharp, burning sensation that may result from nerve damage.
  • Dystonic pain: Occurs during involuntary muscle contractions, often described as cramping or twisting.
  • Central pain: A constant, aching pain caused by damage to the nervous system, often difficult to pinpoint.

But the challenges don’t end there. 

Communication, a fundamental human need, becomes a struggle due to common symptoms like changes in voice pitch, slurring, or decreased volume. 

Challenges in communication can significantly impact a person’s quality of life and make it harder for doctors to address their pain concerns.

Addressing communication issues in Parkinson’s 

The Kensington Falls Church recognizes communication struggles as an intricate part of the Parkinson’s journey. 

That’s why we host a Parkinson’s Communication Club, where individuals and their caregivers come together every Monday to work on maintaining and enhancing communication skills. 

Led by Licensed Speech-Language ​​Pathologist Matthew McKeon, in partnership with PFNCA (Parkinson’s Foundation of the National Capital Area), this group offers vocal exercises proven to improve volume and verbal expression, catering to the unique needs of those with Parkinson’s.

Holistic comfort and pain management for Parkinson’s

At The Kensington Falls Church, we understand that addressing pain and discomfort in seniors with Parkinson’s must go beyond medication and breakthrough treatments

Our comprehensive approach embraces a range of non-medical interventions and lifestyle adjustments aimed at enhancing their well-being.

We’ve partnered with Powerback Rehab to offer on-site rehabilitation services, providing our residents with the support they need to regain or maintain their optimal independence. 

Our multidisciplinary rehabilitation team assesses individual needs and tailors specialized programs, including:

  • Speech therapy: Essential for those experiencing voice and swallowing difficulties, including specialized services like LSVT LOUD therapy, particularly beneficial for those with Parkinson’s disease.
  • Physical therapy: Our physical therapists help residents build strength, improve balance, and enhance mobility, addressing issues related to aging, falls, strokes, and neurological conditions.
  • Occupational therapy: Focusing on strengthening movements required for daily tasks like dressing, coordination, and memory exercises.

Additionally, we offer programs such as Energized Fitness for Parkinson’s, providing a fun and engaging way for seniors to enhance strength and socialize with others.

With specialized programs such as Wellness, Brain Fitness, and Balance In Action, we focus on holistic well-being, addressing both physical and cognitive health.

When you choose The Kensington Falls Church, you’re choosing comprehensive support that extends far beyond medication, enriching the lives of seniors with Parkinson’s.

Read our blog: CBD Treatment in Older Adults & Seniors for Anxiety. 

Embracing a supportive community: The Kensington Falls Church difference

In the journey of managing Parkinson’s-related pain, a nurturing environment and continuous care play pivotal roles. 

At The Kensington Falls Church, we understand the significance of holistic well-being. Our community offers not just a place to live but a space to thrive.

With a wide range of resources and amenities, including top-notch rehabilitation services, assisted living, and two levels of memory care, we provide a haven for seniors with Parkinson’s. Our commitment to your loved one’s comfort and quality of life is unwavering.

Consider The Kensington Falls Church as your partner in the pursuit of a pain-free and fulfilling life. Explore our comprehensive offerings, from dining experiences to life enrichment activities, designed to cater to diverse needs.

Experience The Kensington Falls Church difference. 

Reach out today to learn more about pain management for Parkinson’s, our comprehensive Parkinson’s care, and available floor plans

Let us be your trusted companion on this journey towards a pain-managed and comfortable life.

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