A life-changing disorder, Parkinson’s Disease affects approximately 10 million people worldwide. It is progressive in nature, which means the symptoms worsen over time, and these affect the body’s motor and non-motor functions. The occurrence of Parkinson\’s is most common in the age group of 50 to 60. However, early-onset is also a possibility.
For a clearer picture, here are the common early symptoms of Parkinson\’s:
- Slowed movement
- Impaired walk
- Rigid muscles
- Impaired posture and balance
- Loss of involuntary movements
- Speech impediment
- Difficulty in writing
Depending on the severity of these symptoms, Parkinson\’s has been divided into 5 stages, each progressively more serious. Having said that, if intervention takes place at the right time, the adverse effects can be managed and the progression of the disorder can be slowed.
If we take a closer look at this list of symptoms, it becomes clear Parkinson\’s largely affects motor functions. Muscles become rigid and lose flexibility, making daily tasks difficult to manage — one of the essential ones being writing. Handwriting becomes cramped, legibility decreases, and eventually, the individual may completely lose the ability. However, as mentioned earlier, with the right treatment and rehabilitation, some of these functions can be improved significantly.
Here are a few ways in which to improve writing ability while recovering from Parkinson’s:
- Form each letter deliberately. It will be hard initially, but improvement will be seen with time
- Use a gripped or a large pen relax the muscles in your hand
- Avoid cursive writing. The printing form allows for pauses between each letter and makes writing more legible
- Use lined pages to help gauge how big or small words need to be
one that will provide you with a visual target regarding how big or small your words need to be.
- Practise with a ballpoint pen — these are easier to use as compared to ink or felt tips
- Take breaks whenever muscles feel stiff or tight, and when handwriting becomes smaller
- Keep tabs on speed and time taken to effectively track progress
While one can use these tips to work on writing ability, the holistic treatment of Parkinson\’s needs a comprehensive rehabilitation program. At Plexus, an award-winning Neuro and Stem Cell Research Centre, patients undergo the Regenerative Rehabilitation Program that includes:
Stem Cell therapy This is a non-surgical, drugless procedure wherein stem cells that have regenerative capacities are implanted in the patient\’s body and to replace damaged cells.
Physiotherapy This improves the patient\’s mobility, posture, balance and gait, while boosting strength and endurance.
Occupational Therapy The main focus of occupational therapy is to help the affected individual undertake daily activities with ease. Improving handwriting is part of occupational therapy.
Speech Therapy Here, the focus is on the patient\’s facial muscles, mouth, and throat. The therapist helps the patient regain his/her communication skills by leveraging various techniques including non-verbal communication,
Parkinson’s might not have a cure yet, but latest advancements in medical sciences coupled with early intervention can help manage and mitigate damage, allowing affected individuals to lead lives with a degree of independence.