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Is Progressive Supranuclear Palsy A Progressive Disease & Alternative Treatments For It?

Progressive supranuclear palsy is a type of brain disorder, which causes many big problems in your balance, walking, eye movements, and swallowing of foods. (1)

According to the name of the condition, progressive implies worsening of PSP symptoms and the entire condition with time. On the other side, supranuclear means the affected region of the human brain because of PSP disorder.(2)

PSP shows its insidious onset and its symptoms often include a prolonged phase, which are headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and depression.(3)

Is Progressive Supranuclear Palsy A Progressive Disease?

Progressive supranuclear palsy is a type of uncommon brain disorder affecting physical movements, gait or walking control, speech, balance, vision, swallowing of foods, thinking, moods, and behavior. Based on the name of the disease itself, it becomes worse with time and hence, it is progressive and leads to damage to the brain nerve cells.

PSP also causes palsy i.e. weakness from damages in certain parts of the brain present above the clusters of nerve cells i.e. supranuclear or nuclei. These nuclei are responsible for controlling eye movements. A major sign of PSP disease, which also indicates its progression, is the inability to move and aim eyes in the right way, which people experience in the form of blurring or dull vision.

Moreover, if we talk about the prognosis of progressive supranuclear palsy, the disease becomes worse in a progressive way. Patients thus become permanently or severely disabled even within only 3years or 5years of the disease onset. Affected individuals may experience large numbers of severe complications. These include head injury, choking, pneumonia, and minor or major fractures. Especially, most of the PSP patients die because of pneumonia, which takes place in the advanced stage of the condition.(4)

Alternative Treatments For Progressive Supranuclear Palsy

Alternative treatments are recommendable to progressive supranuclear palsy patients in combination with medications so that they can manage the underlying symptoms in a better way and lead a comfortable life. These include the following-

Physiotherapy: In physiotherapy, you get valuable pieces of advice to make the most of your mobility by the help of certain exercises and simultaneously to make sure of avoiding any type of overexertion. Regular physical exercise for progressive supranuclear palsy helps you strengthen the muscles, improve body posture, and avoid joints’ stiffening problems.

Your physical therapist will also guide you about the right type of equipment, like for instance special shoes or walking frame to reduce your risk related to slip and fall incidents. Your physiotherapist will also teach you certain breathing exercises while you have your meals to reduce the risk related to developing the aspiration of pneumonia.

Language And Speech Therapy: An expert in language and speech therapy will help you to improve the speech as well as swallowing problems i.e. dysphagia. These therapists teach you multiple techniques to make the voice clear and advise you certain communication aids or provide devices to help you to manage progressive supranuclear palsy. Your speech therapist will advise you about various types of swallowing techniques and work with your nutritionist to suggest altering your food consistency to make the activity of swallowing food easy.

Occupational Therapy: Your occupational therapist will guide you in increasing your safety and provide you certain preventive trips and falls while you perform your daily activities. Your occupational therapist will especially identify a few of the potential hazards present in your home, which may force you to fall. These are badly secured rugs, poor lights, crowded corridors, and walkways.

Palliative Care: Palliative care is recommendable at almost every stage of progressive supranuclear palsy in combination with other treatments. This type of care relieves your pain and other types of distressing symptoms while providing you social, psychological, and spiritual support.(5)


Progressive supranuclear palsy condition is a progressive one, as its symptoms become worse with time. However, a patient may lead a better and comfortable life by following a few of the essential alternative treatment therapies combined with regular medication.


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 27, 2020

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