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Understanding the Different Kinds of Motor Neuron Diseases

Each kind of MND or Motor Neuron Disease has a different outlook. Some are supposed to be milder and make very slow progress as compared to the rest.

Motor neurons are responsible for movements including making you walk, talk to your friend, or even chew some food items. Motor neurons could be damaged just in the same way as other body parts. One common motor neuron disease is ALS or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis which is commonly referred to as the Lou Gehrig’s disease. In this context, you must know that there are some not so common motor neuron diseases that we would be discussing today.

ALS or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

ALS is known to affect lower, as well as, upper motor neurons. As ALS progresses, you would be gradually losing control over those muscles that are helpful in making you walk, chew, swallow, talk, and even breathe. With the passage of time, these weak motor neurons would weaken further and waste away. There would be twitches and stiffness in your muscles.

ALS is generally regarded as sporadic and anyone could get the disease. However, just five to ten percent of ALS cases actually are triggered due to genetic or hereditary factors. One starts getting ALS symptoms between 40 and 60 years of age. Most of the patients are able to live for another three to five years once their symptoms start showing. However, many patients experiencing ALS could carry on living for another 10 years. There are various ALS treatment options that you must choose as per your doctor’s advice.

PLS or Primary Lateral Sclerosis

PLS or Primary Lateral Sclerosis is supposed to be quite similar to ALS. However, this condition would be impacting just your upper motor neurons. It may trigger stiffness and weakness in the legs, and arms and would be slowing down your walk. Just like Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, the Primary Lateral Sclerosis starts generally in patients ranging from 40 to 60 years of age. However, the muscles become weaker and stiffer over a period of time.

Progressive Bulbar Palsy

Many patients who are suffering from Progressive Bulbar Palsy or PBP would eventually develop Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. As per, “Progressive bulbar palsy (PBP) involves the brain stem. People with ALS often have PBP too. The condition causes frequent choking spells, difficulty speaking, eating, and swallowing.” Progressive Bulbar Palsy is known to damage motor neurons that are found at the base of the brain. With PBP, there is a chance that you would start slurring and have issues in chewing and swallowing food. You find it difficult to control your emotions. You may start crying or laughing without any reason.

Progressive Muscular Atrophy

Progressive Muscular Atrophy could be sporadic or inherited. It would be affecting only the lower motor neurons. It is believed that this condition is marked by weakness that would be starting in your hands. Thereafter, it would be spreading to some other parts of your body. You may experience muscle cramps due to muscle weakness.

Kennedy's Disease

Kennedy’s Disease is supposed to be inherited but it only impacts male patients. Women could be carriers; however, they do not experience any illness because of it. A woman who is having this disease would be having 50 percent chances of transmitting the disease to her son. Male patients with this disease would experience symptoms such as muscle twitches and cramps, shaking hands, and weakness in legs, arms, and face. They would be having major difficulties in chewing and swallowing food or even face problems while speaking. Often men experience low sperm count and have relatively enlarged breasts.


Each kind of MND or Motor Neuron Disease has a different outlook. Some are supposed to be milder and make very slow progress as compared to the rest. Even though there seems to be no cure for MNDs, therapy and the right medications could help in easing and improving the overall quality of life.

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If you’re searching for therapy exercises, then it’s possible that you just have aphasia or another kind of language disorder.

Aphasia usually happens once there a left side stroke or left side brain injury that damages the language center of the brain, that is found within the left brain. an injury here usually results in language/communication difficulties.

Speech exercises are a great way to improve brain disease, especially after you follow them with heavy repetition. Repetition helps activate neuroplasticity, the method that your brain uses to wire and structure itself.

If a stroke or brain injury has broken the language center of your brain, then neuroplasticity will help the healthy, close areas of the brain to “pick up the slack.”

Practicing therapy exercises may be a must for improving speech when a stroke or brain injury.

Bonus: download our free stroke recovery tips ebook. (Link can open a pop-up that may not interrupt your reading.)

Speech Therapy Exercises

The following speech therapy exercises are very easy.

However, easy will still be effective – especially if you apply them with solid repetition and consistency.

If you are doing each exercise 20+ times, six days every week, then you must see results soon.

Here are the exercises:

1. Tongue In-and-Outs

Stick your tongue out and hold it for two seconds, then pull it back in. Hold for two seconds, and repeat.

2. Tongue area

Open your mouth and move your tongue to the touch the correct corner of your mouth. Hold for two seconds, then touch the left corner of your mouth. Hold for two seconds, and repeat.

3. Tongue Up-and-Down

Open your mouth and stick your tongue out. Then, reach your tongue up toward your nose. Hold for two seconds, then reach your tongue down toward your chin. Hold for two seconds, and repeat.

It’s best to try and do all of those exercises in front of the mirror so you'll be able to get proper visual feedback.

4. Say Cheese!

To help improve control of your lips, follow smiling in front of a mirror. Smile, then relax. Repeat the maximum amount as you can stand.

The mirror is very important because it provides feedback, that is fuel for your brain!

5. Practices Your Kissy Face

When you’re done active those smiles, move onto creating kissy faces by puckering your lips. Pucker your lips along, then relax. Repeat 10 times in front of the mirror.

6. Consonant & Vowel Pairing Repetition

Once you have got exercised your tongue, you can begin to follow creating sounds.

Take a consonant that you just have trouble voice communication, then combine it with every one of the five vowels (a, e, i, o, u).

For example, if you have got trouble with the “r” sound, then practice speech “ra, re, ri, ro, ru” over and over.

If you actually struggle with every sound, then you can try voice communication every one separately over and over. for example, begin by voice communication “ra” 20 times. Then move onto “re” twenty times; etc.

Repeat this for all sounds that you just have an issue with.

7. Exercise with therapy Apps

While the exercises above are an excellent place to begin, they aren’t tailored to your unique problem areas.

If you suffer from aphasia once stroke, then it’s an excellent plan to try using therapy apps like Constant therapy.

Speech therapy apps can assess your current ability levels and assign exercises that focus on your problem areas.

The interaction with the app makes it a lot of engaging, too, so you're motivated to get your reps in!

8. Word Games

If you’re searching for different free exercises to undertake, here are some that we tend to recommend:

To work on your visual process and comprehension, try laptop games like solitaire or alchemy.

To exercise your problem solving and visual process, try word games like word searches or problem puzzles.

To practice your comprehension, try a puzzle game like Sudoku.

Most brain games can help improve speech once you observe them regularly.

Doing the simplest speech therapy Exercises

Overall, the simplest speech therapy exercises are those you practice repetitively and systematically. That’s, however, the brain recovers.

However, because many various skills go into speech, it’s important to cover all of your bases by operating with an SLP or using therapy apps.

And if you have got trouble obtaining started as a result of you can’t speak at all, then singing therapy could be a great choice to look into.

Should You Work with a Speech-Language Pathologist?

If you actually struggle with regaining speech, then you may wish to consider working with a speech-language pathologist (SLP).

An SLP is trained to help you recover speech after medical specialty injury, and that they work with all areas of speech recovery that we tend to list earlier.

Most people work with an SLP for as long as insurance can cover, then move onto speech apps once insurance cuts them off.

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