Parkinson’s disease is caused when a loss of nerve cells in a part of the brain called the substantial nigra occurs. This then leads to a reduction in a chemical called dopamine in the brain. The NHS explains: “Dopamine plays a vital role in regulating the movement of the body. A reduction in dopamine is responsible for many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Exactly what causes the loss of nerve cells is unclear.”
As well as symptoms associated with movement, Parkinson’s disease can trigger a range of other physical and psychological symptoms
There are three main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease – involuntary shaking, slow movement and stiffened inflexible muscles.
But as well as symptoms associated with movement, Parkinson’s disease can trigger a range of other physical and psychological symptoms.
One which could be mistaken for a less serious health condition is muscle pain – also referred to musculoskeletal pain.
“This is the most common type of pain people with Parkinson’s experience,” explains Parkinson’s UK.
“It comes from the muscles and bones, and is usually felt as an ache around your joints, arms or legs.
“The pain stays in one area and doesn’t move around your body or shoot down your limbs.”
These pains may increase as you get older and may also get worse because of your Parkinson’s.
Your doctor will be able to advise on the best form of treatment, but simple painkillers and regular exercise usually proves to be an effective form of relief.
Pain for Parkinson’s patients may also appear as shooting pain.
Shooting pain appears a sharp, often shock-like, shooting pain that travels down the arm or leg, It may also involve fingers and toes.
The Parkinson’s charity advises: “Shooting pain is usually the result of a trapped nerve within the spinal cord around the neck or lower back. Nerves can get trapped by discs that stick out, which normally act as pillows between the bony vertebrae.
“Speak to your GP if you are experiencing this type of pain.
“In most cases, simple painkillers and regular, gentle exercise may be enough to treat the problem.
“Heated wheat bags and massage may also be helpful.”
Shooting pain that won’t go away is rare, but if this does happen you should speak to your specialist.
Note that tingling and numbness can also appear in Parkinson’s patients toes and/or fingers.
Other Parkinson’s disease symptoms may appear when you go to the toilet.
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