Myasthenia Gravis (MG)

What is Myasthenia Gravis?

Myasthenia gravis (MG) is an autoimmune disorder. In MG, anti-bodies destroy the communication between nerves and muscle which results in muscle weakness. MG impacts voluntary muscles (the muscles we have control over) – most commonly the muscles that control the eyes, mouth, throats and limbs. It is a rare disease, affecting 150-250 people per 1 million people. It is more common in women under 40 and men over 60. There is no known cause of MG and there is currently no cure.

What are the symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis?

Some of the symptoms people with MG may experience include;

  • Weakness around the eyes.
  • General muscle weakness.
  • Weak and droopy eyelids.
  • Double vision.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Difficult walking.
  • Reduced balance.
  • More falls.
  • Effort-induced fatigue.
  • Difficulties breathing.
  • Difficulties chewing and swallowing.
From Dutch Wikipedia (Original text: Cumulus) is marked with CC BY-SA 3.0.

How can therapy help me?

Exercise has been found to be safe for people with MG, and can assist in increasing quality of life and overall function. Physiotherapists can individualise exercises for people with MG, including exercises to;

  • Improve strength.
  • Improve balance.
  • Manage fatigue.
  • Increase independence.

Due to the multiple impairments people with MG experience, different allied health professional can assist in increasing quality of life and overall function. The allied health support team may include a physiotherapist, occupational therapist and a speech therapist.

If you would like more information on how we work at SCNR you can find out more here To find out more information on the role of physiotherapy in MG or to book an appointment, please call us on 5448 1155 or email

Neve Cavanagh
Physiotherapist, APAM

Evidence for Physiotherapy

Westerberg E, Molin CJ, Lindblad I, Emtner M, Punga AR. Physical exercise in myasthenia gravis is safe and improves neuromuscular parameters and physical performance-based measures: A pilot study. Muscle Nerve  2017;56(2):207-214.

Farrugia ME, Di Marco M, Kersel D, Carmichael C. A physical and psychological approach to managing fatigue in myasthenia gravis: a pilot study. J Neuromuscul Dis  2018;5(3):373-385.

Gilhus NE. Physical training and exercise in myasthenia gravis. Neuromuscul Disord  2021;31(3):169-173.

Jayam Trouth A, Dabi A, Solieman N, Kurukumbi M, Kalyanam J. Myasthenia gravis: a review. Autoimmun Dis  2012;2012(1):874680-10.