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Pain

An aching shoulder is a fairly common early symptom and heralds the side of the body Parkinson’s will start. It is not uncommon to be mistaken for arthritis. At some point, most people with Parkinson’s experience aching, stiffness, numbness or tingling. For a small percentage of people, pain is the most disabling symptom of the disease.

Poor posture can lead to musculoskeletal pain. Neck or back arthritis can contribute to nerve or root pain. Dystonia—the sustained twisting, spasms, or posturing of part of the body—is perhaps the most severe cause of pain in PD. Often it occurs early in the morning, when the last levodopa dose has worn off, and can be relieved by a new dose of medication. Extreme restlessness, called akathisia, is a form of discomfort that prevents some people from being able to sit still, lie down, eat at a table, or attend social gatherings. Rarely, Parkinson’s causes a form of pain called central pain.

Pain in Parkinson’s sometimes is caused by the disease and other times is related to medications. Many therapies are available. By doing a careful examination and taking a detailed medical history, your doctor can diagnose the source of your pain and suggest appropriate treatments.

Related Resources from the PD Resource List

Pain in Parkinson's Disease
Category: Non-Motor Symptoms and Complications of Parkinson’s
Resource Type: Publications
Publication Date: 2005
Author: Blair Ford, M.D.
Publisher: Parkinson's Disease Foundation
Cost: Free
Toll Free: (800) 457-6676
Email: info@pdf.org
Associated URL: www.pdf.org/en/factsheets
Address: 1359 Broadway, Suite 1509
City: New York Zip: 10018
Language: English
State: New York
This fact sheet addresses the often overlooked painful symptoms of PD and describes an approach to diagnosing and treating the various pain syndromes that may occur. Also offered in Spanish.

View all Resources Related to Pain, Other Nonmotor Symptoms and Parkinson's