Dyskinesia is a condition that causes abnormal, uncontrolled, and involuntary movements. It appears as writhing, fidgeting, wriggling, body swaying, or head bobbing. These episodes of involuntary movements can last from a few seconds to about 15 minutes. Under normal circumstances, the episodes resolve without the use of any medication or therapy. But as time passes, the frequency and severity of the episodes may increase.
In most cases, it just affects one part of the body initially. Dyskinesia can affect either the head, arm, or leg. However, it can also spread across the entire body. It mostly occurs when Parkinson’s tremors are controlled by medication. Generally, a long-term use of medications causes the involuntary movements. In Parkinson’s patients, excitement and stress only aggravates dyskinesia. Despite the discomfort caused by this condition, many find it easier to deal with its symptoms than the debilitating symptoms of Parkinson’s. Yet, for many others, dyskinesia can be quite painful and difficult to manage. Often, the symptoms disrupt their personal and social activities. In such cases, it becomes necessary to treat dyskinesia. The following are some ways in which dyskinesia can be managed:
1. Adjusting medication dosage
Taking high doses of Parkinson’s medications on the long run triggers dyskinesia symptoms. After discussion with their physician, Parkinson’s patients are given lower dosages of the medications. Initially, a very low dosage is given; the dosage is gradually increased to find the right dosage that will control Parkinson’s as well as dyskinesia.
2. Adjusting medication schedule
Most prescription medications, including Parkinson’s medications, work only for a specific duration. That is, the effects of a particular medication will last only for four hours after the dose. Once the effects wear off, dyskinesia symptoms may kick in. So, the daily medication is divided into smaller and more frequent doses. This way a steady amount the medication is delivered to the body.
3. Changing the diet
There are no specific foods that control dyskinesia symptoms. But changes to diet can have an effect on how Parkinson’s medications are absorbed in the body. It is recommended to avoid certain nutrients that prevent the medications from being absorbed completely. The incomplete absorption may lead a patient to have higher dosages of the medications, thus aggravating dyskinesia. Although a complete avoidance of these nutrients is not required, it is best to avoid them at the time of taking the medications. It is best to consult a doctor to understand which foods to avoid while taking which Parkinson’s medication.
4. Undergoing deep brain stimulation
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a surgical method for treating severe dyskinesia symptoms. After this procedure, the requirement for Parkinson’s medications substantially decreases. This improves dyskinesia symptoms. During a DBS procedure, an electrical stimulator device is placed in the brain. Thin wires or electrodes from this device are attached to those parts of the brain that control movement. A stream of electronic pulses is sent to these regions of the brain. On the downside, the procedure may impact verbal memory and may also cause brain trauma or bleeding.