What are the symptoms of MND?

Symptoms and the rate of progression of motor neurone disease (MND) vary significantly from person to person.
Diagram of spinal cord and nerves. istockphotoEarly symptoms may be mild and include:
  • Stumbling due to weakness of the leg muscles
  • Difficulty holding objects caused by weakness of the hand muscles
  • Slurring of speech or swallowing difficulties due to weakness of the tongue and throat muscles
  • Cramps and muscle twitching

As the disease progresses symptoms may include: 
  • Breathing difficulties from decreased lung capacity caused by muscle weakness
  • Fatigue caused by muscle exhaustion, decreased lung capacity, metabolic changes, weight loss and reduced food intake
  • Insomnia caused by discomfort, pain from stiff joints and muscles, excessive saliva, dry mouth or breathing problems
  • Mild changes in cognitive skills and processes and/or behavioural change
  • Fronto-temporal cognitive changes (a type of dementia), which is prominent in 5-10% of MND cases
  • Excessive laughing or crying due to damage to the upper motor neurones
  • Some pain or discomfort


Information resources

MND Australia and the State MND Associations have developed a series of information resources about motor neurone disease. The resources are available for download from our Information Resources page.  If you prefer printed copies, please contact your State MND Association on 1800 777 175


Find out more

What is MND?

Diagnosis and tests

Living Better

Treatment and Care


More about pain and discomfort