Neuromuscular and nerve disorders affect the nerves that control voluntary muscle movements. They also affect how well your nerves can relay messages from your muscles to your brain.
When your nervous system communication pathways break down, your muscles may become weak. Over time, muscles begin to waste away and movement becomes more difficult for you.
In some cases, neuromuscular and nerve disorders result from an inherited gene mutation. Others result from a disorder of your immune system. Often, there is no known cause.
Symptoms of neuromuscular and nerve disorders vary widely depending on the specific condition. Some symptoms that are common to several disorders include:
- Muscle weakness
- Twitching or tremors
- Problems with walking or balance
- Numbness or tingling
- Speech difficulties
- Trouble swallowing or breathing
- Droopy eyelids
- Double vision
The team of specialists at Sentara are experts at providing a precise diagnosis and compassionate, comprehensive care for disorders including:
Autonomic disorders: The autonomic nervous system is the part of your nervous system that you cannot consciously control. This includes your heart rate, blood pressure, sweat and digestion. The parts of your autonomic nervous system interact in complex ways. When one stops functioning properly, it can affect many basic bodily functions.
ALS: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive neuromuscular disease. Over time, the motor nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord degenerate. When the motor neurons can no longer send impulses to your muscles, you lose the ability to control them.
Muscular dystrophy: The name refers to a group of more than 30 diseases, including Duchenne's muscular dystrophy and congenital muscular dystrophy. It causes muscle weakness and muscle loss. As the disease progresses, it affects most major muscles throughout the body and sometimes your heart and lungs.
Myasthenia gravis: Myasthenia gravis is a chronic, autoimmune, neuromuscular disease. It can affect any muscles in your body, typically starting in the face. Myasthenia Gravis causes muscle weakness and fatigue that gets worse after you're active and may improve after you rest.
Peripheral neuropathy: Peripheral neuropathy describes a diverse group of disorders that result from peripheral nerves damage. This complex series of nerves controls signals from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of your body. When something disrupts signals to these nerves, it affects many of your basic functions.
Trigeminal neuralgia: The trigeminal nerve transmits sensation from your brain to your face, scalp, jaw and mouth. When something (such as a blood vessel or tumor) presses on the nerve, it creates severe, shooting pain. Everyday activities, such as tooth brushing, kissing, putting on makeup, shaving, chewing or talking, can result in pain.