Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Challenging Parkinson's One Tune at a Time

I spent the majority of my mid-teens through mid-twenties in radio broadcasting, both as a civilian and as an airman in the USAF. Music was a cornerstone of my life and then, my interest faded. After spending years listening to music and keeping up with the Billboard charts, I spent an equal number of years never listening to music. However, here in my forties, and finding myself beset with an odd collection of health challenges - in particular Young Onset Parkinson's - I am rediscovering the power of music. Many chronic health issues respond to formal or informal music therapy. Whether soothing or uplifting in cadence, music can soften the rough edges of daily living and counter and/or ease some mental and physical obstacles.

In terms of Parkinson's, I find that a shot of upbeat music in the morning helps me get stiff muscles moving. I pop in some earbuds and in the otherwise calm predawn hours, I am often silently dancing across my living room (much to the consternation of my cats.) I start out in my chair, head bobbing and fist pumping and I progress to standing, then a slow shuffle-wiggle-shuffle and eventually, I'm doing my best 80's dance floor routine. If my balance is particularly bad, I stay near the kitchen counter so I have something to grab if I get over-enthusiastic. I'm positive it is all very silly-looking and ungraceful; I live in fear my son will somehow wake before noon and discover his mom shaking her hips to her own private rhythm. No matter. Researchers have found that regular exercise/movement seems to slow PD progression and improve patient outcomes. I'd rather chance a moment of embarrassment than turn to stone. 

This all said, here's my current favorite tune for my morning rock out. I dare you not to dance. Even a silly, awkward shuffle-wiggle-shuffle can spit in the face of health issues that are doing their best to steal your joy and your body. And while you're embarrassing yourself with abandon in your living room, remember that I'm out there too, dancing right along with you.
  

2 comments:

gypsy said...

Great idea. I have found that doing laundry and cleaning is more bearable when I listen to music and somehow headphones make it more fun. Thanks for this!

Kris said...

Thanks for sharing, Michelle. It's fun to "discover" new music.

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