Symptoms of MND

July 4, 2024 Motor Neurone Disease Care

Symptoms of MND

Motor neurone disease (MND), also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease is a rapidly progressing neurological disease. Although incurable, MND is treatable and many of its symptoms can be managed.

What is MND?

MND is a disease that affects the nerves that help tell your muscles what to do, which are found in the brain and spinal cord. This means that the messages from the motor neurones gradually stop reaching the muscles, leading to them weakening, stiffen and waste. This will affect how you breathe, eat, drink, swallow, speak, walk and talk. Like any disease, it affects everyone differently and not all symptoms will affect everyone, be in the same order or speed. Due to this, it makes the course of the disease difficult to predict.

Symptoms of MND

Although the disease will progress, its symptoms can be managed to help achieve quality of life. MND often starts with muscle weakness in the face, hands or voice. However, it can start in other parts of the body and progress at varying rates and pattern. Usually, muscles in your mouth, feet and hands are affected first, but not necessarily all at once.

The symptoms of MND are:

Muscle weakness and then the increasing loss of movement in your limbs

This happens as the motor neurones stops delivering instructions to the brain meaning that the muscle is used less. It can also affect balance and posture. This includes numbness, pins and needles, and tingling sensations.

Muscle tightness

Spasticity (muscle tightness) can impact coordination and mobility. This is common and can be very painful.


You may experience muscle twitching and rippling sensations under your skin. At times, only one part of the body twitches, while other times, several parts can twitch at once. This is often an early symptom.

Breathing problems

This usually develops in the later stages. Depending on your preferences and needs, breathing assistance can be used such as physiotherapy, breathing exercises, medication and assisted ventilation. As your breathing muscles continue to weaken, you may be more dependent on ventilation and medication.

Difficulties with speech

Faint speech happens if you feel like you cannot support the volume of your voice or if you feel breathless. Slurred speech happens with the weakness of the muscles in your mouth, tongue, face or throat.

Swallowing difficulties

You may find that swallowing food, drinking or your saliva starts to cause coughing or gagging become prominent. This happens as your mouth, face and throat weakens.

Extreme tiredness

This typically happens when other MND symptoms are more obvious. Everyday routines will take longer and become more tiring due to the loss of physical function. Fatigue can also occur from breathlessness and less eating and fluid intake.


Pain can be experienced due to muscle weakness and tightness. Discomfort from limited mobility, swelling or fluid retention.

Managing the symptoms

In most instances, a person would have to have several of the symptoms to be diagnosed. If any 1 of the symptoms appear, it may not be MND as you will have several of them to be diagnosed. Regardless, it is important to speak to your GP if you are concerned.

People living with MND live longer and better when under the care of a multidisciplinary team (MDT) as they receive well rounded care to manage symptoms and remain independent for as long as possible. This can include any of the following health professionals:

  • Neurologist
  • Consultant
  • MND care coordinator
  • Occupational therapist
  • Physiotherapist
  • MND specialist nurse
  • Community or district nurse
  • Palliative care services
  • Wheelchair services
  • Speech and language therapists
  • Pharmacist
  • Dietitian
  • Counselling and psychology support
  • Social worker

Why Choose Us?

Our team of expert nurses and carers understand the unique challenges of living with motor neurone disease. This depth of experience enables our team to understand the physical as well as the emotional and psychological effect MND can have. We work closely with healthcare professionals to facilitate a comprehensive approach to your care at home. Our homecare services enable you to remain independent in your familiar surroundings, surrounded by loved ones, minimising stress and anxiety, while receiving the expert care and support you need to manage your MND effectively.

We provide personalised private motor neurone disease home care tailored to individual needs in London and the Home Counties. To learn more about our care services and how we can assist with your needs, please reach out to our team at 020 3008 5210 or email us We are here to discuss further and address any questions or concerns you may have.

About the Author…

Zahrah Abdullah

Operations Assistant

During her time as a Youth Worker at Challengers, a charity dedicated to supporting children and young people with disabilities, Zahrah demonstrated excellence in assisting in the delivery of inclusive play activities. She gained knowledge in Makaton, and underwent training in Crisis Prevention/Intervention, specifically focusing on managing challenging verbal and physical behaviours.

Currently holding a key role within Cavendish Homecare’s operations team, Zahrah takes charge of ensuring the seamless set up of new cases, managing the distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) to clients and the nursing and carer teams, organising staff training and providing crucial support to Nurse Managers.

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