APEX Brain Centers


Parkinson’s disease destroys nerve cells in the brain (neurons) found in the substantia nigra, a part of the basal ganglia. These neurons produce dopamine, a chemical that sends messages in your brain. Dopamine plays a critical role in many functions of the body, including movement control and coordination. Parkinson’s disease symptoms, such as loss of motor control, tend to get worse over time as more and more dopamine-producing neurons are damaging or die.

The Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s symptoms can vary greatly from one person to the next. Symptoms vary in severity as well. Some are relatively mild, whereas others can be devastating. Classic Parkinsonian symptoms related to movement control include:

  • Tremors (particularly in the hands and fingers)
  • Slow movement (called bradykinesia)
  • Rigidity or freezing
  • Difficulty walking
  • Balance control problems

Parkinson’s disease can also cause cognitive problems, as well as difficulties with emotional control, because the basal ganglia are also responsible for coordination of cognitive and emotional processing. Symptoms such as memory loss, dementia, and severe depression can be caused by damage to the basal ganglia in advanced stages of the disease. Parkinson’s sufferers can also experience other progressive symptoms such as severe fatigue, gastrointestinal distress (constipation) and speech issues.

Balance Assessments and Exercises

One essential test we use with Parkinson’s clients is dynamic posturography – a computerized assessment of balance and postural stability. Posture problems are very common in those with Parkinson’s disease, including camptocormia, a forward flexion of the head, shoulders, and spine. Dynamic posturography helps us determine the severity of a client’s balance issues and their fall risk. This assessment guides us to the balance exercises that will be most effective for the client’s needs, including vestibular, gait, and eye movement training.

Balance and posture problems can create very dangerous situations for those with Parkinson’s. Many individuals with PD have a posterior center of pressure (CoP), or a tendency to fall backwards. Falls to the rear are often more devastating than falls forward because you cannot catch yourself. The risk of injury is increased for those with Parkinson’s disease because of diminished movement planning skills and delayed reaction times. For this reason, appropriate assessment and intervention to improve posturing and CoP is critical for those with these Parkinson’s symptoms.

Brain Training for Parkinsonian Symptoms

At APEX Brain Centers we offer hope and support to clients with Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. Through detailed assessments and courses of targeted Brain Training exercises, we aim to help our clients improve their brain function, physical function, and quality of life.

We tailor each course of Brain Training to the unique needs of each client. Parkinson tremor treatment may include complex motor activities, specialized gait training, and various types of electrical stimulation specific for the underlying neurological deficits.

The Interactive Metronome is another valuable assessment and training tool that we often use to help those with Parkinson’s disease. This computer-based exercise helps clients improve sequencing and planning of motor activities within the brain. In the case of an individual with Parkinson’s, improving neural timing supports more fluid movement and less freezing.

Nutritional and Metabolic Support

We also offer nutritional counseling and intervention for our clients with Parkinson’s disease. Nutritional supplementation with PD can be quite complicated, although in many cases quite successful. Due to gastrointestinal distress experienced by many with PD, protein intake often needs to be limited and various food sensitivities may develop. Medical food interventions, as well as intermittent fasting techniques, have proven quite effective for management in these sensitive cases.

Antioxidant therapies, specifically those that boost glutathione production, are the most widely studied at this point in time and have been incredibly helpful for countless individuals in managing their Parkinson’s symptoms and slowing the rate of decline.

Contact APEX to Learn More

If you or a loved one has been struggling with the physical, emotional, and cognitive problems associated with Parkinson’s disease, talk to us about how we can offer support. Contact our admissions department to learn more or call us at 828.708.5274.

Dr. Michael S. Trayford is a Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist and Neurofeedback Specialist with over 20 years of experience in the practice of advanced functional neurology. He is one of the most highly sought-after brain rehabilitation specialists because of the life-changing outcomes his patients consistently experience. After over a decade in private practice and working alongside other pioneers in the field, Dr. Trayford developed his multimodal intensive brain training and rehabilitation program built around the science of Neuroplasticity – the ability of the brain to learn and grow dependent upon the stimulation it receives from its environment. He later founded APEX Brain Centers to combine his ground-breaking rehabilitation approach with a unique patient and caretaker-centered care model. Under Dr. Trayford’s leadership, APEX Brain Centers has successfully treated thousands of patients and earned the reputation of a world-renowned brain training and rehabilitation practice. Since its inception, Dr. Trayford has been a leader of the Brain Training revolution treating patients worldwide. In addition, he is a published journal contributor and international lecturer. His experience with various patients of all ages and neurological conditions has given him a unique perspective on brain health and human performance. He is also well-versed in collaborating with other health care professionals, making him an invaluable asset to any care team. Dr. Trayford was awarded the Functional Neurologist of the Year distinction by the International Association of Functional Neurology and Rehabilitation, where he is a proud member and conference lecturer. Currently, he serves on the Advisory Council for the Dementia Society of America and the Board of Directors for the International Society for Neuroregulation and Research. He is also a servant leader who has dedicated his adult life to serving multiple communities through Rotary International and other notable causes. When he’s not treating patients, Dr. Trayford usually reads or researches anything related to the brain, human performance, and leadership. He also loves spending time outdoors with his wife Denise, their two daughters, and dogs in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina. https://www.linkedin.com/in/drmichaeltrayford/

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