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My top 5 tips for reducing pain

Pain and Parkinson’s

It might not be surprising to hear that pain is one of the most common non motor symptoms among people diagnosed with PD.

Pain is subjective. Everyone owns their own feelings around pain and shouldn’t be compared to the next person in pain. Pain continues to be under treated but I have found many alternative treatments myself and have listened to many of my clients talk about what has worked for them. I’m going to share some of my go-to’s with you and what my clients with PD have found works for them as well.

The motor symptoms of Parkinson’s are typically the main focus of care for your physician and I believe pain has been historically under treated as a legitimate non-motor symptom. Learning and understanding your own symptoms and keeping track of your test results and having a pain diary can go a long way in figuring out how to best treat your pain. The hardest time to do so is when your pain is at its worst. When you are having a good day with less pain would be the best time to start your diary.

Personally, I do not have Parkinson’s but I have a disease called Endometriosis that consists of adhesions throughout different parts of my body that flare up and cause wicked pain and fatigue. I have had 4 abdominal surgeries to date to help relieve some of the pain and restrictions but surgery is only a temporary fix. Consequently I do consider myself quite knowledgeable in the area of pain management and I am always seeking different alternative treatments and techniques that can help lessen the pain for an improved quality of life. No doctor can ever tell me, or understand how I feel. I am my best judge of this, as are you for your pain.

I know which drugs work well for me and which drugs don’t. I encourage you to learn about the drugs you are taking and how they work for you and don’t put your entire health in your doctor’s hands.

I’m going to focus more on the Musculoskeletal Pain that my clients are bothered by the most in this blog because pain is a broad topic to talk about. Did you know that pain can sometimes be worsened by postural changes related to PD or can sometimes fluctuate with changes in medication?

Being an RMT for over 12 years I learned a lot about the body and what treatments worked not only best for me but where I saw the most improvement with my clients. Myofascial Release was my treatment of choice and that’s why I dove into this therapy and learned as much as I could to help myself and my clients. Fascia is a specialized system of the body that is similar to a spider’s web. It covers all of our muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, organs as well as our brain and spinal cord and it can be quite thick in some areas. It is one continuous structure from our head to our toes.

Trauma, inflammatory response or even surgeries, create myofascial restrictions that can produce tensile pressures of approximately 2000 pounds per square inch on pain sensitive structures. Yikes, right?

So many people who are suffering in pain or lack range of motion may be having fascial problems but are just not diagnosed.

I highly recommend seeking therapy from a trained RMT or PT that has experience with Myofascial Release (I prefer John Barnes trained therapists) and experiencing this treatment for yourself. It is not the same as getting a deep tissue or a “fluff’ spa massage. The techniques are sustained for longer periods of time to allow the fascia to gradually soften and let go as this is the way to lasting results.

I teach all of my instructors at Boxing 4 Health the importance of learning self massage techniques to help our clients learn to release their own fascia. Learning and feeling the tight, tender and restricted areas in your body can help you figure out what to treat and what parts of your body need the most attention. Tip: It’s typically not the areas that are causing your pain. That is only where the pain shows up but it’s not the root of the problem.

These balls we use often in our classes

PD Care laser- this is a new light therapy treatment that I have just started at my main gym here in Ottawa, Canada. It is a non-thermal delivery of waves of light energy with a therapeutic benefit. I have heard some great positive results over the past 2 years and I’m excited to trial a few of my own clients to see what benefits they can experience.

This specific laser, combined with a 20-minute protocol 3 times a week, can set off a series of biochemical events that can result in chronic pain relief, reduced inflammation, and even increased dopamine and serotonin production in the colon.

By treating the gut with laser light, SYMBYX is able to effect change in a patient’s microbiome which ultimately leads to improved brain function. (

Check out their website and learn more about it. If you are interested in purchasing a laser please reach out to me for a discount code.

I will continue to keep everyone posted on the results we are getting in the gym as wellJ

FSM- This is a newer treatment for me that I have started using myself a few months ago. I believed in it so much I decided to purchase a unit for myself and now I don’t leave home without it. Frequency specific microcurrent is a technique used for treating pain by using low level electrical current. It is completely non invasive, gentle and relaxing. The current is delivered to certain parts of the body in an attempt to relieve pain. A frequency is the rate at which a sound wave or electronic pulse is produced.

Heat and Cold can also be quite therapeutic when used properly. Cold therapy is often best during acute pain or inflammation and should only be used for 10minute intervals.

I use heat often to help with pain as I find it’s what works for my body best. If I’m having a tough day and my whole body is inflamed I try a cold shower as this can sometimes work wonders.

You really need to focus on breathing and calming your breath in a cold shower or bath and once you are able to do this your body can experience tremendous benefits from cold therapy.

CBD- CBD has become a lot more popular in the past couple of years and I have been told to use it by not only my GP but also my pain specialist (an Anesthesiologist). CBD may help to reduce pain by acting on a variety of biological processes in the body. CBD has been shown to work as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic. CBD may also reduce the anxiety that people living with chronic pain often experience.

I take a few drops before bed because it also helps me have a more restful sleep. I strongly recommend talking to a professional to figure out what dose and strain is best for you considering your symptoms. Here is a link for a free virtual consult with a Pharmacist who specializes in CBD and you can tell him the list of meds you are on to make sure there are no contraindications. Make sure to let them know Boxing 4 Health referred you:)

I hope some of these suggestions can be helpful for you or even provide you with some hope that there are options out there for you to try. It’s exciting to see new treatments especially in the Parkinson’s field! Personally, I know there is no cure for my disease just like there’s no cure for Parkinson’s but hope can go a long way. If you can experience less pain in your body then you can exercise more, you can do more of what you like and most importantly, you can enjoy your life to it’s fullest.



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