Motor neuron diseases are a group of neurological disorders that selectively affect motor neurons. It affects the muscles that enable us to move, speak, breathe and swallow. People with motor neuron disease may have difficulties in movement, sleeping, swallowing. Some measures can be taken to deal with these problems.

Sleeplessness

People with motor neuron disease may have sleeping problems. Sleeplessness can be caused by discomfort, muscle pain and stiffness, shortness of breath or a dry mouth, or any combination of these and other things. Measures can be taken to encourage sleep include:

• Going to bed at the same time every night
• Making sure your bedroom is quiet, cool, dark and comfortable
• Avoiding heavy meals and caffeinated drinks
• Changing position in bed often
• Use pillows to spread body pressure or to raise the head and chest
• Consulting doctor about medications that may help
• Taking proper exercise or massage

Coldness

People with motor neuron disease are more likely to get cold. The following measures can help to keep warm:

• Wearing warm clothing, preferably woolen
• Using sheepskin slippers, seat pads, rugs and leg warmers
• Trying gentle massage to help circulation and stimulate warmth

Swelling

For people with motor neuron disease, their feet and legs can swell due to a build-up of fluid. Measures that can be taken to help include:

• Consulting your doctor about the possible causes and treatments of swelling
• Keeping your legs elevated with cushion support
• Using massage and gentle exercise to help disperse the fluid

Arm dysfunction

People with motor neuron disease may find it hard to do tasks independently because of arm dysfunction. There are many measures that can help, which include:

• Specially designed cutlery with large handles and straps
• Plates with deep rims or a guard
• Cups with two handles and flexi-straws
• Lightweight utensils and bowls

As motor neuron disease progresses, the affected people will need assistance with daily tasks. It is very important for them to take the right measures as these measures can help them retain some independence and quality of life.