Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is a progressive neurological disease. This affects the motor neurones which degenerate and die, causing voluntary muscles to weaken and waste. Neurones are nerve cells which take messages from the brain to the voluntary muscles. It does not affect the sensory nerves. Therefore your touch, taste, sight, smell and hearing are not affected.
About Motor Neurone Disease:
- There are 1400 people in Australia living with MND.
- There are many theories about the causes of MND, with ongoing research being conducted worldwide.
- Diagnosis is difficult as there is no one test. It can take many months to receive a diagnosis.
- There are different types of MND, which are determined by the areas of the body that symptoms begin, and how these progress.
- Life expectancy is usually around 2-3 years. One in ten people can live more than 10 years.
Voluntary muscles affected by motor neurones affects:
Symptoms of Motor Neurone Disease:
- Weakness in the arms, legs and throughout the body
- Fatigue and insomnia
- Muscle pain, cramps and muscle twitches
- Difficulty speaking and swallowing
- Excessive or thick saliva
- Difficulty getting comfortable and changing position when discomfort arises
- Reduced ability to walk and get from bed to chair
- Breathing difficulties
- Emotional changes and fluctuations
- Cognitive difficulties
How can Physio help Motor Neurone Disease?
Often the symptoms of weakness will progress relatively quickly. They will vary from person to person and can be a little unpredictable. Therefore, what you may do with a Physio is likely to change as the presentation changes. A Physio can:
- Assess the amount of strength available throughout the body, and use this to provide the best, updated exercises to optimise function.
- Provide range of movement exercises and stretches to maintain movement through the joints and muscles. This helps with positioning, comfort, personal care and mobility.
- Mobility practice and transferring from bed to and from the chair and advising carers and family on the safest way to do this. We may liaise with the Occupational Therapist regarding this, as well as on positioning in the bed or chair.
- Positioning advice to support the body adequately to prevent pain. This includes head and neck supports which can help with communication and swallowing.
- Gentle massage to relieve pain caused by tight muscles and help reduce swelling.
- Chest Physio is very helpful to optimise the strength of respiratory muscles, monitor oxygen levels, and listen to the chest for any signs of infection. Having good lung function and oxygen levels, can make a huge impact on a person’s mood and fatigue. Sometimes it can be simple advice on positioning that makes all the difference.
- We liaise with the whole team to determine how we can help best. This includes the healthcare team, support coordinator, and family and friends.
The MND Association works with people with MND, their families, carers and health professionals to help coordinate the changing care needs throughout the progression of MND – https://www.mndnsw.asn.au
Freecall: 1800 777 175