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Neurological physiotherapy for motor neurone disease

The neurological physiotherapists at Liverpool Neuro Physio commonly treat individuals with motor neurone disease. Motor neurone disease is a disease that can lead to muscle weakness and wasting.

What is motor neurone disease?

Motor neurone disease is a degenerative disease that affects upper and lower motor neurones. Motor neurone disease results in wasting and weakness of the muscles and increased loss in mobility of the limbs, along with difficulty with speech, swallowing and breathing. There is no known cause for motor neurone disease.

Physiotherapy is beneficial for anyone who is suffering from motor neurone disease.

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Types of motor neurone disease?

There are four types of motor neurone disease. These affect individuals in different ways. The different types of motor neurone disease include:

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis involves both upper and motor neurones. It is characterised by muscle wastage. It is the most common form of motor neurone disease.

Progressive bulbar palsy

Progressive Bulbar Palsy also involves both upper and lower motor neurones. The main symptoms associated with this type of motor neurone disease are, slurred speech or difficulty swallowing.

Progressive muscular atrophy

Progressive muscular atrophy is concerned with the lower motor neurones only. The small muscles of the hands and feet are usually affected first. This type of motor neurone disease is much rarer than the others.

Primary lateral sclerosis

Primary lateral sclerosis is concerned with the upper motor neurones only. It affects the lower limbs mainly but can also cause clumsiness in the hands too. This type of motor neurone disease is very rare.

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Effects of motor neurone disease?

Motor neurone disease affects individuals in different ways. Initial symptoms may be mild.

Hand and arm symptoms

Fine motor movements (more precise ones) such as grip maybe weakened first.

Feet and leg symptoms

Walking may start to become clumsy as motor neurone disease progresses.

Muscle cramps

Motor neurone disease may result in muscle cramps because the signals sent from the brain to the muscles are affected. This means that muscles may spasm which can cause cramp which can in turn produce pain.

Stiff joints

Motor neurone disease can result in joint stiffness. Muscles can't move in the way they are supposed move so the range of movement at joints may decrease.


Pain is usually a secondary symptom to having motor neurone disease. Motor neurone disease does not necessarily cause pain.

Other problems

Other problems associated with motor neurone disease may include incontinence, Bowel dysfunction, breathing difficulties and cognitive changes.

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Physiotherapy for motor neurone disease?

The specialist physiotherapists at Liverpool Neuro Physio commonly treat people who suffer with motor neurone disease. The physiotherapists will work together with you to work towards your goals. During the treatment time you will work on the treatment goals with your physiotherapist so that you get the best out of your treatment. Physiotherapy treatment will vary from person to person depending on their presenting symptoms. Some of your treatment at Liverpool Neuro Physio may include:

The main aim of physiotherapy in motor neurone disease is to achieve maximum functional ability and promote independence. As motor neurone disease progresses physiotherapy treatment may change. Physiotherapy is important individuals with motor neurone disease because it focuses on preventing muscles from becoming stiff and maintaining maximal range of movement.

Physiotherapy will differ from person to person depending on the severity of their symptoms and how much functional ability they currently have. Exercise therapy is performed to help prevent and joint deformities and to prevent muscles from tightening. Exercise therapy maybe assisted or actively performed. It is important to have a physiotherapist; they will help you to understand your limitations and maintain your independence.

Your physiotherapist will be able to help with advice and guidance to managing the condition and techniques that will help you to cope. In the later stages of the disease advice and guidance on breathing techniques and conserving energy to help clear your chest can be provided.

Our physiotherapists can work alongside family /carers to teach home exercise programmes and positioning techniques. They can also assess your home and provide advice regarding equipment you may need to make it easier for you to be more independent at home.

Your treatment with Liverpool Neuro Physio will be specific to any problems you are experiencing with mobility and everyday tasks. Physiotherapy can be beneficial to anyone with motor neurone disease to maintain your level of independence and slow the progress of the disease. It will ensure you remain safe at home and have a reduced risk of falls. This in turn will motivate you and improve your confidence.

To arrange an appointment or to speak to one of our specialists, call us on 0151 558 0188 or email office@liverpoolneurophysio.co.uk.

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Get in touch

Please call us on 0151 558 0188 or email us at office@liverpoolneurophysio.co.uk

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