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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What does Parkinson's Disease feel like? Part 2 - Rigidity

Rigidity.  That's the proper term for it, however, just plain stiff is a better description and it is now my main problem from Parkinson's disease.  

This stiffness can be hard to describe to someone who has never felt it.  Muscles normally stretch when they move, and then relax when they are at rest. In Parkinson's disease, the muscles of an affected area are always contracted and won't relax.  That's why you see us with our hands clenched into a fist sometimes.   

When my drugs start to wear off, I can feel my neck stiffen and then the stiffness spreads to my right arm and both legs, making it hard to rise from a seated position.  If I tried to come up with an accurate description, I'd say it feels like concrete drying.  Or maybe being starched.   Do people use starch anymore?  Oh, heck, my age is showing!  Anyways, it's a distinct feeling.  Kind of like when you have a bad fever, but without the chills and sweating.  Things just tighten up and sometime ache, too. 










 





Not fun, not at all like getting stiff from booze.  Hmm, wonder if getting drunk would counteract it?  Doubt it; I'd probably end up a stiff stiff with a bad hangover.


Stretching is a good way to counteract the tightness.  Exercise may be the best medicine for us and it is free.  However, you should concentrate on exercises that stretch your muscles instead of contracting them, since the Parkinson's contracts them for you.  Speaking of stretching, I need to go do that now, been at the computer too long.   



This is how I hold my hand when I sleep at night, either under my pillow or against my leg, depending on which side I am sleeping on.  Why?  So I don't wake up with a fist I cannot open.  I usually have a distinct hand print on my leg from the hand contracting during the night, but that's a bit to risque to photograph, so you will just have to take my word for it.




Thank you for reading this story, I hope you enjoyed it. This is just one of a hundred stories in my book, Parkinson's Humor - Funny Stories about My Life with Parkinson's Disease. Please consider purchasing a copy from Amazon.com or your favorite online book seller. Thank you and have a Happy Parkie Day!

20 comments:

  1. I described it to my mother by saying, make a fist and stiffen and curl your toes... now hold it forever... Gayle

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  2. My wife describes it as feeling like a walking jello mold. M.C.

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  3. This is how I am. I've had a couple of doctors (not my neurologist, obviously) say to me, "I don't see Parkinson's Disease," since I'm not bent over and shaking. Yet my left hand is usually clenched and, like in your photo, drawn up to my chest, and my left side constantly tensed. Carol

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  4. I describe it like this: Go outside on the coldest day possible and stay there until you begin to shake and can't move....yeah, it feels a little like that. As for the stiffness in my hands I have found that sitting on them seems to work for me to straighten them out.....Theresa

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  5. Thank you for sharing your sense of humor. I needed that.

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  6. Finally someone who knows how it feels. I hope you have had a good day.
    Minnie

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  7. We used MJ salve, rubbed some on my husband's frozen shoulder from his parkinsons and it worked....it's been 2 months and have not reapplied

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  8. What I have noticed with the person I am caring for Voice very soft and his walking , also the Grabbing of things tight in his hand also dosnt let go , and when getting out of the chair like you mentioned above.

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  9. Haven't experienced this yet, but as always you describe things with humor, which is sometimes all we have to get us through as new symptoms arise. Thank you and take care. Su

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  10. We've got a lot in common. Thanks for these posts. Minnie

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  11. Exactly: like cardboard is how I discribed myself yesterday to my husband,

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  12. I often explain it as I feel like there are weights on my body holding me down or that I'm trying to tread through water. I usually have something in my hand to stop the clenching and I try make a thing of trying to notice when I hold my hand up against my stomach/chest. My calf tensed a lot though. That's newer than the rest.
    Erin

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  13. I have lot of experiences. Let me tell you a funny story. During off phase at night, wake up from sleep & observe my hands are in "claw like" attitude. Lots of squeezing on the bed sheet, legs & body is rotating, rolling on the bed as if I just finished fight with a " wild animal"

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  14. Every morning I have to slowly move my whole right side from my sleep position! Then I get up!!!
    Pam

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  15. I suggested to my consultant he considers the difference between a weeping willow branch and a dead stick the dog would retrieve

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  16. Think I have repeated this comment twice hay! ho! Cognition impairment sound familiar? I brought my husband the milk jug instead of a coffee

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  17. Like if the Tin Man had been left in the rain...Or when the statue comes alive in a cartoon and it slowly lifts it's leg, steps and it slams down, the next leg heavily and slowly lifts, moves, slams down...Repeat.( I think I spend too much time in front of the television, lol).
    Theresa

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  18. Boy, can I relate. It's the wearing off of meds that are so difficult to deal with.
    Shirley

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