About Neuromuscular Disorders

Share

Neuromuscular disorders, or disorders of the peripheral nervous system, are some of the most common diseases faced by our aging population. Neuromuscular disorders involve the motor neurons, nerve roots of the spine, brachial and lumbar plexus, neuromuscular junction and muscle.

Patients seek help from a neuromuscular specialist for a variety of reasons. Problems with the motor neurons lead to progressive, painless muscle weakness. When these motor neurons become unhealthy or die, communication between the central nervous system and muscles breaks down, and muscles weaken and waste away. The weakness can lead to twitching, cramps, joint pain and movement problems. As some neuromuscular diseases progress, patients can develop breathing and swallowing difficulties.

Problems with the nerve roots

Problems with the nerve roots are called radiculopathies. These usually involve some sensation loss, weakness of voluntary muscle innervated by a specific nerve root, and pain in the spine or along a limb. Plexus lesions also may present this way.

Nerve problems

Nerve problems range from simple (carpal tunnel) to complex (multifocal motor neuropathy). Symptoms can include numbness; imbalance and walking instability from loss of sensation; weakness of voluntary muscle that might cause foot drop or difficulty with opening a bottle or opening a button or clasp; and extra sensations, such as burning or tingling.

Problems with the neuromuscular junction and muscle

Problems with the neuromuscular junction and the muscle may cause muscle weakness. The classic neuromuscular junction disorder, myasthenia gravis, commonly causes double vision (diplopia) and droopy eyelids (ptosis), in addition to painless muscle weakness that leads to fatigue during the day. The most commonly seen muscle disorders cause weakness in the shoulders and hips and may reduce the individual’s ability to lift items overhead or rise from a low chair without using his or her arms.

Examples of neuromuscular disorders

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease) Learn more >>
  • Spinal muscular atrophy
  • Cervical and lumbar radiculopathies
  • Acute and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (AIDP or Guillain-Barre, and CIDP)
  • Hereditary neuropathy (Charcot Marie Tooth disease)
  • Acquired neuropathies (diabetes related to toxins and chemotherapy, etc.)
  • Myasthenia gravis and neuromuscular junction disorders Learn more >>
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Metabolic myopathies (mitochondrial disorders, myophosphorylase deficiency)
  • Inflammatory myopathies (dermatomyositis, polymyositis, inclusion body myositis)
  • Print This Page
  • Make an Appointment: Schedule Now
  • UCNI Weekly Blog
  • Join Our Email List
    for Bi-Monthly Updates

    Click here to continue.
  • Hope Stories

    • Zettie’s Story: Aphasia

      Zettie's Story: Aphasia In November of 2004, Zettie Williams confronted what neurologists consider one of the most feared consequences of stroke. When a therapist showed her a photograph of her son, she knew she was looking at her son, but she couldn’t say...
    • Charles Sabine’s Story: Huntington’s Disease

      Charles Sabine's Story: Huntington's DiseaseIn 2005 the NBC war correspondent Charles Sabine made the life-altering decision to face up to his family history of Huntington’s disease and undergo genetic testing. The odds, he knew, were 50-50 that he, too, had the gene and would...
    • Brian’s Story: Vocal Cord Cyst

      Brian's Story: Vocal Cord Cyst One by one, the symptoms of a throat problem tapped on the pastor’s door. Pastor Brian Tome, leader of Crossroads Church and speaker of five weekly messages to a following of 15,000, acknowledged the symptoms and tried to dismiss them....
    • Charlie’s Story: Epilepsy

      Charlie's Story: EpilepsyBy Charlie Shor I have had many adventures in my 57 years, and I have accomplished much. But the main message of my story, which I have been given the opportunity to share, is that anything is possible. If you have...
    • John’s Story: Glioblastoma

      John's Story: Glioblastoma John, a retired painter and carpenter, is a tall, solidly built man with a strong inclination toward getting things done. A former Vista volunteer who was equally comfortable running a food co-op in an underserved neighborhood or standing near the...
    • Mike’s Hope Story: Parkinson’s disease

      Mike's Hope Story: Parkinson's disease Imagine learning you have Parkinson’s Disease. At 26. Most Parkinson’s patients are diagnosed in their 60s. Yet in 1987, after three years of unexplained symptoms, Mike Pohl learned he had the degenerative disease. After a visit to the National Institutes...
    • Alison’s Story: Ruptured Aneurysm following Neurotrauma

      Alison's Story: Ruptured Aneurysm following Neurotrauma She has completed medical school, has won the Flying Pig Marathon and has reached the summit of two of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks.Today Dr. Alison Delgado is tackling a mountain of a different kind. Step by hard-earned step, word by remembered...
    • Renee’s Story: Stroke

      Renee's Story: Stroke When 33-year-old high energy mother Renee Young became ill with the flu in November 2007, the last thing she expected was she was about to suffer a stroke. But that was exactly what happened. As she tried to swallow medication...
    • Matt’s Story: Head Injury

      Matt's Story: Head Injury A poor decision nearly cost Matt his life. But state-of-the-art neurosurgical and neurocritical care, dedicated therapists, and family support gave him a chance to start over again. Today, in what is proving to his best decision ever, Matt is studying...
    • Blake’s Story: Medulloblastoma

      Blake's Story: Medulloblastoma Blake knew he was in the right hands the moment he saw the surgeon’s wrists. Dr. John M. Tew, Blake’s neurosurgeon, was wearing one of Lance Armstrong’s yellow LiveStrong cancer bracelets. So was Blake. Dr. Tew, who was also sporting...