Complementary & Alternative Medicine (CAM)
A growing number of people with Parkinson's disease, particularly those with early onset Parkinson’s, are interested in finding an alternative Parkinson’s treatment.
Some find that alternative and complementary medicine (CAM) offers helpful information related to natural treatment for Parkinson’s disease symptoms, proper diet, exercise, and stress or pain management. Often, they turn to such information as they pursue other treatment options. Others turn to CAM to help them address some of the secondary symptoms of PD such as constipation or fatigue. Some people pursue CAM in an effort to minimize the amount of medication they take and delay the long-term side effects like dyskinesia (involuntary movements) associated with some conventional medications.
CAM approaches to treating PD can include yoga or massage. If you are considering CAM therapies, consult with your neurologist or primary care physician, or seek the advice of an integrative medicine physician. It is important for all those involved in your treatment to be working together to some extent. If you are thinking of taking any supplements or herbs, inform your physician as some of them can interfere with conventional drug treatments. Avoid practitioners who claim to "cure" Parkinson's disease, and any who advise abruptly stopping or weaning off prescription medications (unless you have first spoken with your physician).
It takes time to investigate and prove the safety and efficacy of any treatment. In recent years, researchers have begun to focus more specifically on CAM therapies and we will continue to learn about their potential benefits and risks. In the meantime, discover what is best for you by being an informed consumer. Sometimes the best treatment plans involve a wide range of interventions.
- CAM Basics (PDF)
- Complementary Therapies: Expanding Your Symptom Management Options (Webcast)
Presented by Melanie M. Brandabur, MD, MDS Young Onset Parkinson Conference, Sacramento, CA, 2010
For more information about CAM, visit our Young Onset Resource Guide.