Nalla’s Story: Treatment for Multifocal Motor Neuropathy

Nalla Lawson, who lives in Ocala, Florida, recently shared her story and treatment journey through an article published in UF Health. After suffering a fall back in 2016, she was diagnosed with multifocal motor neuropathy (MMN). At the time, she also underwent treatment, which, unfortunately, was unsuccessful.

Because of this, Nalla dealt with symptoms like weakness, numbness, a severe foot drop (which caused more falls), and intense pain. These effects made it difficult for her to work, perform chores, and enjoy life in general. It didn’t help that she had undergone a kidney transplant years prior in 2011, as it made her immunocompromised and unable to take certain medicines.

She reported trying everything to soothe her symptoms, from Tylenol to creams to patches, but nothing seemed to work for more than six hours at a time. After years of dealing with these effects, she was finally referred to Dr. William J. Triggs at the University of Florida College of Medicine. He performed an MRI, which showed him that Nalla’s pain may be partly due to spinal stenosis – a condition that puts pressure on the nerves. To treat this, he referred Nalla to a neurosurgeon named Dr. Nohra Chalouhi.

However, Dr. Chalouhi was concerned with the surgery that Dr. Triggs suggested. She knew that Nalla was immunocompromised from her kidney transplant – which was also performed at UF – and worried about her recovery. Because of this, she referred Nalla to yet another doctor: Dr. Sanjeev Kumar.

Dr. Kumar recommended the best and least invasive option that would end up changing her life. Called endoscopic spinal decompression, this procedure involves a small incision, tiny tools, and an endoscope. Because this surgery is less invasive, the healing time is faster, less painful, and causes minimal tissue trauma.

After undergoing this procedure, Nalla felt immediate improvements. Her foot drop was better, and there was more sensation in her extremities. Her post-op MRI was very positive, and within six weeks, she returned back to work. Now, four months after, Nalla has no pain, is mobile, and able to do the things she loves, all with only two tiny scars from the surgery.

About MMN

Progressive muscle weakness characterizes MMN, which is caused by something that medical professionals don’t quite entirely understand. They do know that the immune system plays a role, with a theory that the motor nerves are damaged by a conduction block. Regardless of the cause, symptoms include:

  • Muscle weakness in the extremities
  • Foot drop
  • Trouble walking
  • Fatigue
  • Functional disability
  • Issues performing fine motor skills
    • These include unlocking doors and writing
  • Decreased muscle tone
  • Cramping and twitching
  • Absent deep tendon reflexes
  • Muscle atrophy

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