How Three Exercise Machines Help Relieve My Rigidity as a Parkinson’s Patient

As a Parkinson’s disease patient, I have learned from PD resources and from personal experience how important and crucial exercise is to keep me mobile. The four characteristics of this neurodegenerative movement disorder include tremors, rigidity, slow movement, poor balance and difficulty in walking. Rigidity or stiffness and inflexibility in my upper back, shoulders and neck are is the most painful symptom of my PD. It is difficult to walk outside or on a treadmill without hurting, nor am I able to stand for long without experiencing pain.

Over the counter pain pills have not worked well to relieve my discomfort, and I have found I only get relief when I go to the gym and spend some time on certain machines.

These are three machines I use at the gym to obtain relief from my upper back, shoulder, and neck pain.

Lateral Pull Down Machine

The lateral pull down machine helps work out the knots in my shoulders and neck and upper back. First, I sit on the seat and adjust the thigh pad so that it snugly touches my thighs and place my feet flat on the floor. Next I stand and grasp the lateral bar at a distance that is slightly past your shoulders. Slowly and deliberately, I pull the bar down past my face so that the bar touches my chest, and then pause for a second, and then I slowly return the bar to its normal position. I repeat this procedure for three sets of ten repetitions and it loosens the muscles in my shoulders and neck as well as my upper back. I use a weight of 40 lbs. on this machine.

It also feels good on the upper back to repeat as above, but instead of pulling the bar down in front of the face, pull it down behind the head so that it grazes your shoulders. Again, I do three sets of ten repetitions each.

Also grasping the lateral bar with a narrower grip will work different muscles in the upper back and neck areas.

Weighted Seated Row

Using a seated row machine really helps relieve the tightness I feel between my shoulder blades. The rowing machine is a great way to build your back muscles. First, I choose the weight for the pull. I generally use 40 lbs. To use this machine, I straddle the bench placing my feet on the vertical foot rests and with my legs extended but not locked, I grasp the machine handles and pull forward until the handles touch my stomach. This machine will give better results if you pause to squeeze your shoulder blades together before returning the bar to the start position. I can feel the rigidity ease between my shoulders as I do three sets of ten rows each.

Seated Military Shoulder Press

The overhead press gives me a great workout in my shoulders. This exercise is done as you are seated. Adjust the seat so that the machine handles are level with your shoulders. Grasp the handles and lift up until your arms are fully extended, pause and slowly return to the start position. Before beginning the exercise, I choose a weight appropriate for me which is 20 lbs. I usually do three sets with ten repetitions each.

Unfortunately, these exercises only provide temporary relief for pain, so the more days in the week I do them, the less pain I experience.

Exercising is necessary for a Parkinson’s patient to relieve rigidity and to ultimately keep moving.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is based on my personal experience with Parkinson’s disease and my use of these specific machines to provide relief for my rigidity. It is crucial that you consult your Neurologist or Movement Disorders Specialist if you have PD before beginning any exercise program.

Sources: embedded

Personal experience!- my personal local gym

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