Neuromuscular diseases damage the nerves that control muscles. The brain sends messages through the nerves to the muscles telling them to move. Neuromuscular diseases disrupt the messages and affect movement. Over time, muscles can weaken or waste away.
Types of neuromuscular diseases include:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Post-polio syndrome
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Muscular dystrophies
- Myasthenia gravis
Symptoms of a neuromuscular disease can include:
- Numbness and tingling
- Muscle cramps and twitching
- Problems with balance
- Problems with memory or judgement
- Trouble breathing
- Problems eating and swallowing
If you have a neuromuscular disease, contact a physiatrist (physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor) at the University of Miami Health System. We’ll get you moving to your best ability, and stronger than before.
Electroneurophysiological testing is done with current and electrodes to determine nerve and muscle function/dysfunction and damage. Tests include electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCS).
Neurostimulation, also called electrical stimulation, uses low-voltage electricity to stop the nerve impulses that cause pain. Examples include transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), applied on the skin over nerve endings, and spinal cord stimulation (SCS), which is inserted under the skin.
Interventional spine procedures
These procedures use image-guided technology to deliver steroids and medications right to the pain source. Selective epidural injections, cervical facet injections, cervical selective nerve blocks, and discograms reduce pain and inflammation in the neck. This treatment is usually prescribed with physical therapy or exercise.
Ultrasound imaging allows doctors to view nerves, bones, tendons, and muscles. Combining this technology with injection therapy means we can deliver medicines to the exact trigger point to relieve pain and inflammation. Steroids and platelet-rich plasma injections are commonly used to treat neuromusculoskeletal pain.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive procedure that uses heat from radio waves to damage nerve tissues, disrupting their ability to send pain signals. This is performed on the facet joints in the spine.
Therapies for spasticity relax muscle tightness and stiffness with medicines. Therapies include targeted botulinum toxin (Botox®) injections for specific muscles, and intrathecal baclofen pumps that deliver medicine to the spinal fluid.
Why Choose UHealth?
Neuromuscular expertise. Our diverse faculty provides comprehensive and compassionate care to patients with a broad range of neuromuscular diseases, as well as both electrodiagnostic and neuromuscular pathology services. The neuromuscular team works out of the Kessenich Family ALS Clinics, the adult and pediatric Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Clinics and the University of Miami Electromyography Laboratory.
Leading neuromuscular programs in South Florida. The Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is part of the Kessenich Family Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Center and the Muscular Dystrophy Association Clinic for children and adults. Your care comes from one of the most trusted and experienced providers in South Florida.
Top-rated neurology team. Our team has more than 70 renowned research and clinical faculty in most of the neurological sub-specialties. Together with UHealth’s expert neurosurgeons, U.S. News and World Report ranked us in the top 50 among teams in the country, and our department ranked in the top 16 in NIH funding.
High case volume. Our neurologists are experienced and knowledgeable. The number of patients our department has cared for is impressive; as an example, there are about 2,500 patients with movement disorders, 2,000 patients with multiple sclerosis, 1,000 patients with cognitive impairment, 1,500 with stroke and about 300 patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Clinical and laboratory research. The physicians and scientists within the department also conduct cutting-edge clinical and basic science laboratory research in a variety of program areas including cerebrovascular disease; ALS and other neuromuscular diseases; epilepsy; genetic and mitochondrial diseases of the nervous system; movement disorders and degenerative diseases; neuro-pharmacology; and neurophysiology.
Centers of Excellence. The Neurology department is considered a Center of Excellence with clinical and research focus on Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS). This esteemed qualification is fostered by long-term collaborations with the National Parkinson Foundation and the National MS Society.
Specialized, comprehensive rehab services. We have special programs in rehabilitation psychology and neuropsychology. From restoring your physical and emotional health, to providing education for prevention and wellness, we’re here for all your needs.
Multispecialty care with teams built around your condition. Our rehabilitation team works closely with orthopedic specialists and surgeons, neurologists, neurosurgeons, and others to customize your treatment plan. You have access to the latest approaches to managing pain, including minimally invasive and non-surgical treatments like neurostimulation and interventional spine procedures, all in one place. And, you get a faster diagnosis and better care when we’re all working together for you.
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