see also Trembling and Twitching
Gradual deterioration of nerve centres in brain responsible for controlling movement; as degeneration proceeds, the delicate balance between two chemicals (neurotransmitters) which ensure transmission of nerve impulses is also upset. In most cases no obvious cause can be found, but in a few the culprit has been found to be carbon-monoxide poisoning, poisoning by heavy metals such as mercury or manganese, a rare form of encephalitis, or drugs, particularly the phenothiazines used in the treatment of schizophrenia if drug-related, the condition usually disappears when the drug is stopped.
Early symptoms of Parkinson's disease are an involuntary tremor of the hands or head which more or less stops when the person consciously decides to move them. Gradually, movements which are only just under voluntary control - keeping one's balance or swinging one's arms when walking, writing legibly, talking clearly - are affected; when voluntary movements are affected, becoming slow and difficult to initiate; gut becomes shuffling, and the person tends to fall easily; other problems are excessive salivation (see Salivary Disorders), abdominal cramp, Memory Loss, and patchy concentration. The condition is not fatal in itself, nor is it painful; it affects 1 person in 1000 and slightly more men than women, seldom starts before the age of 50, and may have a minor hereditary component.
In orthodox medicine Parkinsonism is usually controlled by anticholinergic drugs (drugs which counteract the dominance of one of the neurotransmitter chemicals referred to earlier), but these can have unpleasant side effects. Drugs that boost the effect of dopamine (one of the neurotransmitters) are also used in conjunction with other drugs that enhance this effect so that smaller doses can be given, as this too has unpleasant side-effects. Although homeopathy can offer a number of specific remedies for occasional use, the condition really requires the ongoing care of an experienced homeopath. There is another condition called 'essential tremor' in which, unlike Parkinson’s, the sufferer trembles from the user muscles. This scan often be helped by applications of cold water and is benign.
Specific remedies to be given 4 times daily for up to 2 weeks when symptoms are particularly bad, or while waiting to see a homeopath
- Over-production of saliva, sweet/metallic taste in mouth, trembling hands, tremor accompanied by perspiration and made worse by it, equal sensitivity to heat and cold, patchy memory and concentration, loss of willpower Mercurius 6c
- Person restless, twitching in every muscle, very suspicious and jealous, inclined to behave obscenely Hyoscyamus 6c
- Limbs tremble, twitch, and jerk, person complains of stiffness and itchiness in affected limbs, spine feels extremely sensitive Agaricus 6c
- Where main complaint is stiffness or cramp, made worse by damp or immobility but alleviated by moving, tremor not very marked Rhus tox. 6c
- Excessive trembling and weakness affecting mainly tongue, eyes, and attempts to swallow, staggering gait Gelsemium 6c
- Where none of the above remedies is effective Manganum 6c
Self-help: Extra Vitamin B6 and C may be beneficial but if person is on orthodox drugs, consult medical doctor first, as dosage may need to be changed.