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Neuromuscular Disorders

The Saint Thomas Health neuromuscular disorders team offers care for diseases and disorders of the peripheral nervous system, which includes muscles, the nerve-muscle (neuromuscular) junction, peripheral nerves in the limbs and the motor-nerve cells in the spinal cord. We partner with our patients to identify and deliver personalized treatment plans that help them and their families live the fullest life possible.


What are neuromuscular disorders?

Patients with neuromuscular diseases and disorders can have weakness, loss of muscle bulk, muscle twitching, cramping, numbness, tingling and a host of other symptoms. Problems with the nerve-muscle junction can also cause droopy eyelids, double vision and weakness that worsens with activity. Some neuromuscular disorders can also cause difficulty with swallowing and breathing.

We treat neuromuscular disorders such as:
  • ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
  • Muscle disorders, including muscular dystrophy and myositis
  • Nerve disorders, including peripheral neuropathies and pain  
  • Myasthenia gravis


How are nerve and muscle diseases diagnosed?

Assessment and diagnosis begins with a history and physical examination to evaluate a patient’s muscle strength, reflexes and sensation. Further assessment may include blood tests, radiological studies and examination of cerebrospinal fluid.

Other tests include:
  • Nerve conduction studies
  • Needle electromyography
  • Quantitative sudomotor autonomic reflex testing
  • Cardiovascular autonomic testing
  • Quantitative sensory testing
  • Muscle and nerve biopsy


How are nerve and muscle diseases treated?

  • Drug therapy. Some forms of nerve and muscle disease can be treated effectively with medication. Treatment may include immunosuppressive drugs for certain muscle and nerve diseases and diseases of the nerve-muscle junctions. Anticonvulsants or antidepressants may be used to treat the pain of neuropathy.
  • Referrals to appropriate specialists. Patients who may benefit from surgery receive referrals to surgeons in the departments of neurological surgery, thoracic surgery, orthopedic surgery, or elsewhere. Patients also may be referred to physical, occupational, speech, or rehabilitation specialists; physiatrists; pulmonary medicine specialists; or ophthalmologists.
  • Patient and family education and counseling. In addition to individual and family sessions, treatment may include referral to appropriate support groups or genetic counselors.


For More Information

Saint Thomas Medical Partners - Neurology - Nashville
300 20th Avenue North , 8th floor
Nashville, TN 37203
Phone 615-284-1400
Fax 615-284-1420

Saint Thomas Medical Partners - Neurology - West
4230 Harding Pike , Suite 535
Nashville, TN 37205
Phone 615-222-1251
Fax 615-222-1258