An Osteopathic, Non Pharmacologic Approach to Parkinson’s Disease, Restless Leg Syndrome & Essential Tremor
Movement disorders are a heterogeneous group of complex sensorimotor neurological conditions involving involuntary abnormal movements, deficiencies or changes in normal motion. Parkinson’s disease, restless leg syndrome, and essential tremor are the most common movement disorders, and their prevalence is increasing with the growth of the aging population. These neurological conditions affect multiple body systems and are best managed with a multifaceted treatment approach. Behavioral, lifestyle, and/or psychosocial modifications and treatments for sleep, mood, exercise, and nutrition to meet the increased metabolic demands are critical. Evidence suggests that osteopathic manipulative medicine may improve gait and motor function in Parkinson’s disease as well as quality of life in restless leg syndrome. In addition, osteopathic manipulative medicine may be used to treat many of the common symptoms in these patients such as constipation, rib dysfunction, back pain, and tendonopathy in the same way as in patients without movement disorders. The normalization of autonomic nervous system function through manipulation of the suboccipital area, cervical myofascia, and rib raising would be particularly beneficial in these disorders. Integration of the five models of osteopathic care by the family physician can improve symptom management and overall quality of life.