Fighting Fatigue in Parkinson’s Disease

October 8, 2015 in LifeCare Health Services

Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative condition for which there are multiple supportive therapies and treatments, but no cure.  Each person with the disease is challenged by it in a different way and has a unique set of symptoms.  The four main signs and symptoms known as the primary motor symptoms are:

  • Bradykinesia: slowed motion and movement
  • Resting tremor: shaking, often in one hand, one foot, the jaw, or face.
  • Rigidity: muscle stiffness
  • Compromised posture and balance


Physical and mental fatigue is another common and frustrating symptom. Sleep patterns can be disrupted due to pain and side effects of Parkinson’s medications which can add to a patient’s fatigue.


The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research shared these lifestyle adjustment and tips to combat fatigue.

  • Exercise regularly. Starting your day with some light cardio or yoga stretches can help keep you energized throughout your day. Research has shown that dancing1, brisk walks2, and various forms of exercise and physical therapy3 provides Parkinson’s patients with numerous symptom improvements and benefits.
  • Take short naps if necessary. Long naps during the day can disrupt sleep at night but a quick power nap in the early afternoon can reenergize you for the rest of the day’s activities.
  • Stick to a regular schedule. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time each day.
  • Budget your energy. Go to bed earlier if you are going to be busy the next day. Pace yourself and take short breaks when you can.
  • Have fun. Find activities that make you feel more energized. Spending time with a friend, volunteering, or attending your grandchild’s soccer game can help the fight against fatigue.
  • Reduce stress. Alleviate mental stress and fatigue with exercise, meditation, reading a good book or anything else that you find relaxing.
  • Talk to your doctor about your signs and symptoms. If you are suffering from insomnia or daytime sleepiness and exhaustion, a change in medications may help.


When it comes to therapy and support services for Parkinson’s, we have excellent options.  Our team of physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, and nurses can help families implement programs designed to improve function, improve independence at home, and reduce the risk of fall injuries.  When patients meet Medicare’s homebound criteria and have had a recent change in condition or incident, Medicare may pay 100% of costs for in-home rehabilitation plans. Call us to discuss your situation.



  1. Earhart G. Dance as therapy for individuals with Parkinson disease. European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine. 2009 June; 45(2): 231-238.
  2. Bohnen N, Frey K, Studenski S, et al. Gait speed in Parkinson disease correlates with cholinergic degeneration. Neurology, 2013; 81 (18): 1611-1616.
  3. Tomlinson C, Patel S, Meek C, et al. Physiotherapy intervention in Parkinson’s disease: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ, 2012;345:e5004.

Parkinson's Fighting Fatigue

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