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Adult & Pediatric - Orthopaedic Specialists Adult & Pediatric - Orthopaedic Specialists

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Neuromuscular Conditions

A neuromuscular disease is a disorder that affects the muscles and its nervous control. Neuromuscular disorders are the conditions caused by impaired neuronal activity of the nerves that control the voluntary muscle activities. Patients with neuromuscular disorders often experience muscle pain or weakness, muscle twitching, cramping, numbness and tingling, muscle stiffness causing joint deformities and sometimes difficulty in swallowing and breathing.

Some of the neuromuscular disorders include:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as motor neuron disease is a nervous system disease  that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord  that control voluntary muscle movement. Persons with ALS have increasing muscle weakness, especially involving the arms and legs, speech, swallowing or breathing. As the disease advances more muscle groups are affected. It most commonly occurs in people between the ages of 40 and 60.Men usually develop ALS more often than women. The cause of ALS is not known, but tends to run in families. There is no cure for ALS, however medications may slow the progression of symptoms and prolong survival.
  • Multiple sclerosis: Multiple sclerosis(MS) is a disease of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) caused by destruction of the myelin insulation covering nerve fibres or neurons. When myelin sheath is destroyed, nerve signals between your brain and the rest of the body slow down or stop. As a result, people with MS have visual disturbances, muscle weakness in the extremities, difficulty with balance and coordination, and difficulty walking. As the disease progresses other symptoms occur such as sensations of numbness, prickling, or pins and needles, pain, tremors, dizziness, speech difficulty, hearing loss, and problems with thinking, learning and planning may also occur.  Multiple sclerosis may be an autoimmune disease, meaning a disease in which the body’s immune system attacks and destroys its own tissues. Multiple sclerosis (MS) usually appear between the ages of 20 and 40 and women are more likely to be affected than men. There is no known cure for multiple sclerosis, however treatment such as medications and therapies may help relieve the symptoms and relapses and slow the progression of MS.
  • Myasthenia gravis: Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disorder in which your body’s own immune system makes antibodies to block the messages sent by the brain to the muscle. People with myasthenia gravis often have trouble in eye and eyelid movement, facial expression and problems with chewing, swallowing and holding up their head. Medications are used to help improve neuromusculartransmission and increase muscle strength. Sometimes, thymectomy, the surgical removal of the thymus gland helps to reduce the symptoms.
  • Spinal muscular atrophy: Spinal muscular atrophy is an inherited disease that attacks the nerve cells called motor neurons characterized by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness. It is a genetic condition that runs in families. There is no treatment for spinal muscular atrophy; however medications and physical therapy may help treat the symptoms.

Neuromuscular disorders can be caused by an immune system disorder or a gene mutation. Although neuromuscular disorders are not curable, they are treatable if early and appropriate treatment is initiated. The aim of treatment is to ease symptoms, increase your mobility, and lengthen life.

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