Lifestyle Changes to Help Manage Tremors
It is well known that exercise can reduce or even stop tremor in people with Parkinson’s. The act of physically moving during most exercise such as cycling, dancing, running or boxing have resulted in tremors disappearing during participation and in some cases for a while after.
It is vital for people with Parkinson’s to exercise regularly and to keep as active as possible. Normally when the limb is moving, the tremor will weaken or disappear. Regular exercise will keep tremor at bay.
Many patients experience an increase in the severity of their tremors when they are stressed. In fact, worrying, Anxiety and Fatigue can make tremor worse. Up to 50% of people with Parkinson’s will also suffer from Anxiety or Depression at some point during their illness. Common fears and worries that go along with PD may trigger anxiety. One is a fear of being unable to function independently. Parkinson’s medications create physical dependency and so people may be fearful during a sudden “off” period (the time of day when medication is not working). Another is a concern about being embarrassed, often related to interacting with others in public.
When you’re having severe anxiety, it can cause physical symptoms. Perceived stress, danger, and high levels of emotion usually set off anxiety. Anxiety can lead to a panic attack which can trigger your tremors.
The neural mechanisms that contribute to tremor amplification during stress, and also to the spontaneous variations in tremor, are unclear. Having such insights would be helpful for the development of improved treatment strategies for tremor.
It is important to eliminate stress from your life. This means any and everything that makes you more stressed or anxious. Distance yourself from toxic relationships, environments and people. Re-evaluate your working life. Make sure you fully participate in things that are positive, encouraging and helpful to you whether that be emotionally or physically.
We recommend that you use complementary and alternative therapies to reduce sources of stress and anxiety such as Mindfulness yoga, Qigong, Reiki, Meditation, aromatherapy, art and music. These have been proven to be very beneficial in people with Parkinson’s and do not carry side effects that pharmaceutical medications do. The psychological and behavioural treatment can reduce tremor and improve manual dexterity. Some people also use alternative treatments such as Valerian Root, CBD Oil, Mucuna Pruriens and these too have shown to improve stress and tremor in Parkinson’s.
We are developing a new CBT Helpline to offer therapy across the UK to people with Parkinson’s who are living with anxiety or depression. This helpline will be extended to their family carer. Our aim of the Helpline is to reduce isolation, anxiety and depression amongst people with Parkinson’s, to reduce suicide rate amongst people with Parkinson’s and to improve quality of life.