There are a vast number of neurological disorders that affect the spine and muscles. Some of the most common include multiple sclerosis (MS), ALS, and degenerative disk disease. These conditions can cause challenging symptoms, such as muscles weakness, sensory problems, or a loss of muscle control.
Our doctors at Mecklenburg Neurology in Charlotte, NC are well-equipped to diagnose and treat a wide range of spine and muscle diseases. We use a multidisciplinary approach to provide patients with comprehensive, compassionate care.
Neurological Diseases Affecting the Muscles
Neuromuscular disorders can interfere with the muscles, the nerves that control them, and the transmission of information between the two systems. Some of the most common neuromuscular disorders include:
- Muscular dystrophy (MD): Rather than a specific disease, muscular dystrophy is an umbrella terms used to describe a broad group of diseases that causes muscle weakness and loss. There are more than 30 different types of MD.
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS): This disease of the nervous system attacks the neurons in the brain and spinal cord. This can lead to difficulties with walking, speaking, and writing. Eventually, all of the muscles fail, including the chest muscles. This can ultimately lead to respiratory failure.
- Myasthenia gravis: This autoimmune disease causes weakness in the voluntary muscles, including muscles for swallowing, eye movement, and facial movement. In general, weakness improves with rest, but it worsens with activity.
- Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA): This genetic disease attacks motor neurons in the spinal cord. As these neurons die, individuals lose control of their voluntary muscles.
Treatment for Muscular Dystrophy
Individuals with muscular dystrophy may have acute or chronic pain, mild or severe symptoms. There is no cure for muscular dystrophy. However, various treatments can be employed to slow the progression of the disease and alleviate uncomfortable symptoms. Treatment may include medications, orthopedic devices, physical therapy, speech therapy, or surgery.
Neurological Diseases Affecting the Spine
The spinal cord is the primary communication path between the brain and the rest of the body. Spinal disorders can lead to permanent neurological damage, including paralysis and incontinence. Some of the most common neurological diseases affecting the spine include:
- Transverse myelitis: This condition is characterized by inflammation on both sides of the spinal cord. It damages the myelin, which cover the nerve cell fibers. Transverse myelitis disrupts the signals sent from the spinal cord to the rest of the body, resulting in pain, paralysis, muscle weakness, sensory issues, or incontinence.
- Multiple sclerosis (MS): Like transverse myelitis, MS destroys myelin, and may result in problems with hearing, vision, speaking, swallowing, balance, sexual function, and muscle control. There is no cure, but many patients witness periods of remission.
- Neuromuscular scoliosis: This is one of three primary types of scoliosis, which is characterized by an abnormal curvature of the spine. Neuromuscular scoliosis is often attributed to spina bifida, cerebral palsy, or spinal cord injury.
- Degenerative disk disease (DDD): This condition describes the normal aging process of the spine, which can lead to pain and discomfort. Over time, the discs become less flexible, so routine movements can become more painful.
- Spina bifida: This condition is a birth defect in which the spinal cord does not form properly.
- Cervical spondylosis: This is an age-related condition due to normal wear and tear of the spinal disks. As the disease progresses, patients may develop osteoarthritis and other uncomfortable symptoms.
Treatment for Neurological Spine Diseases
- If there is an underlying cause of the condition, treating it will likely improve the symptoms of any associated spinal disorder. To alleviate painful symptoms of spine and nerve disorders, your doctor may recommend physical therapy for muscle strength. If the condition has affected your motor skills, then your doctor may recommend occupational therapy to help you relearn tasks and improve coordination and dexterity.
Schedule a Consultation Today
Our Charlotte, NC team of neurologists is dedicated to treating each and every patient with compassion. We understand that receiving a spine or muscle disease diagnosis can be overwhelming. We are here to help reduce your symptoms and enhance your overall quality of life. To schedule an appointment, please call our office at (704) 335-3400.