The Neuromuscular Disease Division at Upstate specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the nerves and muscles. These include peripheral neuropathy, nerve compression, brachial plexus disorders, muscular dystrophy, myasthenia gravis, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) and others.
Symptoms that suggest neuromuscular disease include:
- Progressive weakness
- Loss of muscle bulk
- Muscle twitching
- Numbness and pain in the feet and hands
Neuromuscular specialists also have advanced training in how to perform electromyograms (EMG) an important technique to diagnose nerve and muscle diseases. This test records the electrical activities in the affected nerve and muscle, provides valuable information about the condition and guides treatment.
A Neuromuscular evaluation begins with a thorough consultation in our clinic. This includes careful review of outside study results, a detailed history and physical examination. Usually blood tests and EMG are required as well. Most neuromuscular specialists do their own EMGs as the quality of the results depend heavily on the skill and experience of the team performing it.
Sometimes nerve or muscle biopsies (taking small samples of the nerve or muscle tissue) are needed for a complete understanding of the problem. Skin biopsy can be helpful as well. We work closely with our neurosurgeon and pathologist to coordinate care when biopsies are needed.
The MDA Clinic
Upstate Medical University Neuromuscular physicians work with the Muscular Dystrophy Association. MDA clinic is held every Thursday morning at the University Health Care Center. Patients with diseases that are supported by the MDA, including muscle disorders, ALS, myasthenia gravis, Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy among others, are seen in the MDA Clinic. An MDA representative attends the clinic and is able to assist patients with equipment loans, information and other support. The MDA clinic also has an on-site physical therapist with expertise in neuromuscular disorders.