- DR. Rana’s Article -

Spine and Parkinson’s

Since Parkinson’s disease usually starts on one side of body, the affected side may lag behind while walking. Also, the patients may slowly develop a tendency to lean towards the affected side. This may result in abnormal posture of spine or curved spine which may lead to back pain. The following strategies may help this problem,

  • Regular and gentle exercise as a preventative measure.
  • Consultation with a physiotherapist
  • Correcting your posture and trying to keep it straight as much as possible
  • Early detection and timely treatment of curved spine may help to prevent the curvature getting worse and back pain.

Drooling and Parkinson’s

78% of Parkinson’s disease patients report drooling of saliva. Drooling has long been known to be associated in Parkinson’s. An Egyptian text from 1200-1350 B.C., describes a king of the nineteenth dynasty as, “divine old age had slackened his mouth, he cast his spittle upon the ground and spit it out,” a scene likely referring to drooling. Drooling in Parkinson’s disease is due to decreased swallowing.  Initially, drooling is noticed at nighttime only, and some patients may wake up in the morning with a “Wet Pillow”. However, later on drooling becomes noticeable during the daytime as well.

Some patients with Parkinson’s may walk into the doctor’s office with a handkerchief to wipe off their saliva. Many individuals find drooling quite embarrassing as it may lead to social withdrawal and isolation. In the beginning of the course of Parkinson’s, some patients may not know if drooling is related to Parkinson’s and they may attribute this to poorly fitting dentures. Treating neurologists should take the initiative of screening patients for this and other non-motor symptoms since drooling can be treated.

BY: Dr. Zainab Sarfaraz, Parkinson’s Clinic of Eastern Toronto