Symptoms and stress

Hi there, I am quite new to this forum. I am 46 and trying to ignore the fact I have Parkinson’s… I have a question… do stressful and emotional situations heighten Parkinson’s symptoms? I was at my dentist last week having a big tooth out and my symptoms were heightened significantly . Also at a funeral and my shaking really was obvious. Is this common?

1 Like

Short answer is YES

I just finished sending a difficult, unpleasant email and it was difficult to type because of the tremor.
When driving, I always get the tremors when I approach busy intersections. The brain is busy doing all the looking ahead and planning and doesn’t have enough left over to control the tremor.

It is not just bad stress that causes the symptoms to get worse, good stress or excitement will also do it.

It’s never a dull moment with PD


1 Like

Yes, definitely. My tremor gets much worse if I’m stressed, even slightly. Even watching a football match can have this effect if I care about the result!

I also find it annoying that it means my husband can tell that I’m stressed. The other day we were waiting to meet some friends and he looked at me and said “you’re nervous about this, aren’t you?”, which I found annoying as it makes it impossible to hide how I’m feeling.

1 Like

Hi @Mark
Yes!!! It does!!
I’m not usually fussed about dentists visits…
I was at the dentist three months ago having a molar removed. Shook like never before - can’t work out how my surgeon actually removed it without taking my whole mouth out!!! - then threw up twice all over the nurse as soon as I sat up! Happy days. :rofl:

1 Like

Thanks for your reply. :+1: helped me. Any advice I should have?

I am very worried about how things are going to progress.

Morning @Mark
Are you able to speak with your consultant or nurse about your worries? I try not to fight it now. As @Singing_Gardener said though, it’s very frustrating. I don’t even need to be particularly worried about something, maybe excited or slightly anxious even if I’m meeting a friend or family, and the shake makes me look like I’m nervous :grimacing:

Hello Mark,
I am also 46 and yes, I feel exactly the same like you, and it seems to me it happens in two different types of situations: first, some stressful daily situations like being under time pressure, staying in the traffic jam but also listening to a sad song.
Also, I noticed worsening of my PD symptoms (sleeping and gait issues) when being exposed to general events like holiday with a friends who (I feel) don‘t accept my PD and give me support and empathy, or certain family reunions.
What works for me is to stay out of any kind of trouble as much as possible… can be difficult at the beginning but it‘s my life and if it is good for me I just do it my way…
Good luck!

1 Like

Same for me, I take Beta Blockers prior to raised anxiety/ excitement levels eg. Presentations. Suppresses the tremors but can also mute your emotions some what.

After a lifetime of making snidey comments about American Presidents who could not walk and chew gum at the same time, I did an assessment with the physio recently. I had to walk a measured distance unaided, as fast as I could, with a reminder to take large steps. Then I had to repeat that walk and tell her as many names beginning with S that I could think of. The 2nd time I was slower and took more steps to cover the ground. If something that simple reduces performance, no wonder I disintegrate on crowded public transport!

Interested in reading this as I too find any form of stress makes my tremor worse. I have only just been diagnosed and would like to ask if others find tiredness (lack of sleep or physical tiredness) and cold weather make things worse? For me my tremor and stiffness in left hand/foot seem to.get worse with these too. I too am worried how it will progress @Mark. I am 45 and hoping to keep working and being a mum to my 13 & 10 years olds, and wonder if stress speeds up progression or just symptoms?

I don’t find that tiredness makes the symptoms worse but being cold definitely does for me. I haven’t heard anything that says stress makes progression faster though, I think it is just a temporary effect on symptoms.

Thanks @Singing_Gardener for your reply. I wonder if my family feel like moving somewhere warm :smile:. Think there are lots of thoughts rushing around my head about the future whilst trying to keep my feet on the ground and in the moment. My progression seems to have got suddenly quicker over the last year, having had symptoms that have been slow to progress over about 7 years (in my layman’s view). Maybe I am still in a denial state…

Absolutely yes! I’m 48, I don’t have a visible tremor, however if I get stressed at work and find myself under pressure to get stuff done I start shaking. Other triggers are physical activity that involves my hands, using garden sheers etc. Lack of sleep is also a massive trigger.

It was how I came to realise I had Parkinson’s. A bit of road rage (not on my part) caused my left arm to shake. I understand that adrenaline is produced when you become agitated or angry. To make adrenaline needs dopamine. We haven’t got enough to spare. You don’t realise how much chemistry is involved in everyday tasks. It makes you look nervous all the time. You get used to it. Try not to worry as this uses adrenaline too. :grimacing:

Hello Mark, I have found that challenges when persistent may change breathing patterns. Over breathing is associated with anxiety. An hour before a panic attack occurs measured over-breathing, with a reduction in carbon dioxide in the out-breath is detected about an hour before the actual symptoms occur Professor Alicia Meuret demonstrated this and summarised her results in the web U tube::Out-of-the-blue panic attacks aren’t without warning — body … › News › alicia-meuret-bioscience-08aug2011
]( .
So slowing the out breath after taking a long deep diaphragmatic in-breath may help your symptoms by engaging the inner calming associated with the longer slowed out-breath. More infor on web htttps://

A big yes Mark. And whatever the age of onset PD being diagnosed , it seems that heightened stress does indeed make the tremors much worse. For example I fell off my push bike and fractured my pelvis. “Boy” did my leg shake until the ambulance arrived. A quick shot of morphine had an immediate effect, as the pain reduced, so did the shaking in the leg.

To add my penny worth in to this thread…it has made me wonder about the use of mindfulness practice. I appreciate that it is all the rage at the moment, and for good reason. Very positive research findings re the neurological benefits for patients with cardiac and blood pressure problems. “Mindfulness based stress reduction” is increasingly recognised as a very effective tool…operating as it does on the neurochemistry of the brain. So why not with Parkinson’s. ? Mind you, it takes discipline, daily practice and stamina, and for all that it is the easiest sounding thing in the world to do, anyone who has tried it will attest to how hard it actually is. If you thought that your brain wanders all over the place, just wait till you try and observe it during s mindfulness session…monkey brain does not do it justice…but if you stick at it, it does affect brain chemistry and has lasting effects during the rest of the day, not just while you are doing it.
So much material online and elsewhere that you can have a look st, but my advice would be just learn a simple technique ( observe your breathing and bring your attention back to that every time your mind wanders, just about sums it up) and do it, and keep doing it, starting with at least 20 mins a day. It is all about training your brain to focus on what you choose to focus on.
Forget New Age fads, , religion, cults etc which have tried to hijack and monopolise such practices and dress them up in special language and rituals and make a lot of money out of them, this is about training and re programming that part of your brain that produces the adrenaline and other stress chemicals. Nothing magical, nothing special, just basic neuro chemistry and neurobiology
Just do it ( as they say!). It cannot harm and is likely to do a power of good so long as you keep at it.
Do I sound a little over enthusiastic and evangelical about it? Sorry!

Thanks for all your helpful advice and comments, helps a lot. I struggle with this and always seem knackered late afternoon to the point where I must move or I’ll fall asleep. Holiday to Florida in 2 days so looking forward to the break. Take care all and thanks again. Mark (Scotland)

@Mark, enjoy your holiday… and don’t over do it! :blush: