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Neuromuscular Disorders Specialist

Shankle Clinic

Neurology Specialists located in Newport Beach, CA

If you have trouble walking or breathing, or if your muscles are weak or spastic, you may have a neuromuscular disorder. The expert neurologists at Shankle Clinic, led by founder William Shankle, MS, MD, FACP, can evaluate and diagnose neuromuscular disorders at their state-of-the-art location at the Hoag Neurosciences Institute in Newport Beach, California. To find out what’s causing your symptoms and get the help you need to live a fuller, richer life, contact Shankle Clinic today. Phone our knowledgeable and helpful office staff or book an appointment online.

Neuromuscular Disorders Q & A

What are neuromuscular disorders?

Neuromuscular disorders affect your muscles and the specialized nerves that control their voluntary movements. Your brain and spinal cord are filled with upper motor neurons (nerve cells) that carry movement signals to your lower motor neurons. 

Most muscles have from 50-200 lower motor neurons that tell them when and how to contract. If you have a neuromuscular disorder, the motor neurons may be damaged or dead.

You may also be producing chemicals that block the transmission of nerve signals to your muscles or you may have muscle wasting that weakens your muscles and prevents their repair.

What are the symptoms of neuromuscular disorders?

Symptoms range from mild to life-threatening and tend to worsen with time. Depending on which neuromuscular disorder you have, you might experience:

  • Muscle wasting
  • Trouble breathing
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Difficulty walking
  • Spastic muscles
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle cramps or pain
  • Numbness
  • Tingling sensations

Spastic muscles can eventually cause skeletal or joint deformities.

What are some common types of neuromuscular disorders?

Some of the most common types of neuromuscular disorders include:

Most neuromuscular disorders can’t be cured, but you may be able to manage the symptoms and even slow the progression of disability. 

Why do I have a neuromuscular disorder?

Neuromuscular disorders may have a variety of causes. Some of these include:

  • Genetics
  • Spontaneous gene mutation
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Inflammation
  • Poisons and toxins
  • Tumors
  • Medication side effects
  • Infections
  • Hormonal disorder
  • Metabolic disorder

Even nutritional deficiencies can cause neuromuscular disorders. However, in many cases the cause of the disorder is unknown.

How do neurologists diagnose neuromuscular disorders?

Your neurologist conducts a thorough physical exam, including examining your muscles for evidence of wasting. They may also order blood tests to determine if you have antigens that are common to some neuromuscular disorders.

Your doctor may also order an electromyogram (EMG) to evaluate the health of your muscles and motor neurons.

How do neurologists treat neuromuscular disorders?

Your treatment is based on the diagnosis and your particular type of symptoms. Therapies that may help manage your disorder include:

  • Immunosuppressive drugs
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antidepressants
  • Speech therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Education and counseling

Depending on the factors involved in your disorder, you may also be referred to specialists — such as a surgeon or ophthalmologist — to address specific complications or symptoms. 

To find out if a neuromuscular disorder is at the root of your troubling symptoms, contact Shankle Clinic today. Book an appointment online or phone the helpful clinic staff.