Motor Neuron Disease


Motor neuron disease is a progressive, degenerative disorder that affects nerves in the upper or lower parts of the body.

The disease causes progressive injury and cell death of lower motor neuron groups in the spinal cord and brain stem and usually also of upper motor neurons in the motor cortex. Those affected typically develop a combination of upper and lower motor neuron signs, with progressive muscle weakness and wasting.

The causes of MND are unknown but worldwide research includes studies on:

  • Viruses, toxins, genetic factors and immune factors
  • Nerve growth factors and chemicals which control nerve cells and allow them to communicate with each other
  • Growth, repair and aging of motor neurons.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Progressive muscle weakness
  • Progressive muscle paralysis
  • Muscle groups affected, depend on the  type of motor neuron disease
  • No loss of sensation in affected areas
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Limb weakness
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired gait
  • Facial weakness
  • Muscle cramps


  • Electrophysiological studies such as electromyography (EMG) and nerve-conduction studies (NCS) will show a characteristic pattern, but require careful interpretation, along with a consideration of the clinical features.
  • CT and/or MRI of the brain and spinal cord are useful in excluding other pathologies with similar presentations.
  • Blood tests to exclude other conditions such as vitamin B12 and folate levels.
  • Muscle biopsy may be considered to exclude or diagnose myopathic conditions.

Physioline’s Management of MND:

Specialised Physiotherapy for motor neuron disease at Physioline includes:

  • exercises and stretches
  • joint care
  • breathing exercises and chest clearance techniques
  • pain control
  • anticipating and minimizing secondary complications of motor neurons disease
  • provision of equipment, walking aids, orthoses and wheelchairs
  • advice for you and those caring for you on handling techniques and equipment
  • referral to appropriate health professionals (eg. occupational therapy, speech and language therapy)

The effects of Physiolines Specialised Physiotherapy can be:

  • increased quality of life
  • increased independence
  • increased energy levels
  • reduced pain and muscle spasms
  • reduced risk of chest infections
  • reduced stiffness

Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and rehabilitation improve posture; prevent joint immobility, and slow muscle weakness and wasting. Stretching and strengthening exercises reduce spasticity, increase range of motion, and keep circulation flowing. Additional therapy for speech, chewing, and swallowing difficulties may be required.

Medicines include muscle relaxants such as

  • Baclofen, tizanidine, and the benzodiazepines to reduce spasticity;
  • Glycopyrrolate and atropine to reduce the flow of saliva;
  • Quinine or phenytoin to decrease muscle cramps.

Anti-convulsants and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may help with pain, and other drugs may be prescribed to treat depression. Some individuals will require stronger medicines such as morphine to cope with musculoskeletal abnormalities or pain in later stages of the disorders.

Prognosis of motor neuron disease:

Mortality normally results when control of the diaphragm is impaired and the ability to breathe is lost.

Motor neuron disease is typically fatal within 2-5 years.

DETAILED TREATMENT:- Kindly contact Physioline for the detailed assessment and treatment program which is individualized according to every patient.