The diagnosis for Parkinson’s usually occurs between stages two and three, as patients are more likely to seek a doctor’s diagnosis when they notice that the motor symptoms are beginning to affect their lifestyle. While not all Parkinson’s patients have the same set of symptoms, it is helpful to keep an eye out for general motor symptoms of Parkinson’s by remembering the abbreviation, T.R.A.P. (Tremors, Rigidity, Absence or Slowness of Movement, Postural Instability):
Tremors affect 70-80% of Parkinson’s patients. One of the more common tremors is the pill rolling tremor, which looks like a person rolling a pill or a small object between their thumb and index finger, and happens when the hand is at rest. Tremors can also occur in the hands, on the lower jaw and legs.
Involuntary stiffness of bodily muscles and a sensation of tightness are some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s. This results in decreased flexibility, limited facial expressions, and sometimes a hunched back. Rigidity can also make it difficult for a patient to perform daily tasks well.
Absence or Slowness of movement
Also known as bradykinesia, this is often described as the feeling of having feet “glued to the floor” or “freezing”. It can appear as a shuffling gait, or a person taking smaller steps. Freezing can also happen in the hands or when speaking.
Keeping balanced when standing still, getting up from a chair, or walking becomes difficult and can lead to an increase in falls, twice as often as someone of the same age who is healthy.
On top of these motor symptoms, some other symptoms may include digestive issues, difficulties with swallowing, depression, fatigue, sleep problems, pain, and forgetfulness.
If your loved one is experiencing a combination of these symptoms, bring them to see a neurologist.