When you need expert care for diseases affecting your nerve or muscles, the neuromuscular specialists at University of Missouri Health Care provide the most advanced care in mid-Missouri. We offer the safest and most advanced treatment for neuromuscular disorders in the region including specialized care for kids.

Neuromuscular diseases involve different parts of the nervous system. Our neuromuscular care team includes specialists in brain and spinal cord illness, muscle, nerve and joint conditions and other medical specialties. We create your personalized care team based on your unique needs.

We treat all types of neuromuscular diseases including:

  • Motor neuron disorders (such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS; Kennedy's disease; and spinal muscular atrophy)
  • Muscle disorders (myopathies, muscular dystrophies and myotonic disorders)
  • Neuromuscular junction disorders (botulism, myasthenic syndromes and myasthenia gravis)
  • Neuropathies (inherited diseases and those caused by immune deficiencies, diabetes, toxicity and chemotherapy)
  • Spinal nerve disorders (plexopathies and radiculopathies)
  • Other disorders, such as ataxias, cramp-fasciculation syndrome and stiff-person syndrome

Complete neuromuscular care from an expert team

Neuromuscular diseases require complex care from a number of specialists, so we make your care as convenient as possible. Your care team might include doctors, dietitians, respiratory and rehabilitation therapists, orthotists (clinicians who specialize in limb and spine braces or prostheses) and other clinicians. 

Whenever possible, we try to coordinate appointments to save you multiple visits. For example, we hold regular muscular dystrophy clinics so you can see your entire team, including a Muscular Dystrophy Association representative, in a single appointment.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, attacks the motor neurons that allow the brain to communicate with muscles. Initial symptoms can include weakness of a hand or leg, difficulty swallowing or talking, and muscle twitching and cramping. Gradually, people with ALS lose the ability to walk, swallow and breathe. About 1 in 10 people with ALS carry a gene for the disease, but in the most common type of the disease — sporadic ALS — the cause isn’t known.

Although there is no cure for ALS, we work with patients and families to manage the symptoms and ensure the best possible quality of life. MU Health Care is the only hospital in mid-Missouri to earn the designation of an ALS Certified Treatment Center of Excellence by the ALS Association.

Neuromuscular disease therapies

Your doctor will provide you with a personalized care plan that helps you maintain as much independence and function as possible. We draw from a variety of services to help improve your quality of life and support you and your family including:

  • Medicine. Doctors use medicines to control symptoms such as anticonvulsants and antidepressants for pain and immunosuppressants for autoimmune disorders. As a member of an academic health system, your doctor knows the latest therapies and will recommend the most effective medicines for your condition.
  • Surgery. We offer expert surgical care. If you can benefit from surgical treatment, your doctor will discuss surgical options with you. Your doctor works closely with neurosurgeons and specialists in spine surgery, orthopaedic surgery and plastic surgery to provide comprehensive care.
  • Rehabilitation therapies. Our physical, occupational and speech-language therapists can help you improve function and live as independently as possible. Our orthotists can help you adjust to braces and other supportive devices or artificial body parts. We offer a full range of therapies and assistance to help you overcome functional challenges.
  • Emotional support and resources. Our behavioral health clinicians (psychiatrists, psychologists, neuropsychologists and counselors) are available for you and your family members. We offer all levels of support to improve your emotional well-being.

Leading-edge neuromuscular care

As an academic health center, MU Health Care has experts in every medical specialty. That’s important for you because it means you can get all your care in a single place. Regardless of your condition, we have the expertise and resources to offer you complete care.

Our neuromuscular specialists are also researchers and educators so your care team can provide you with the most advanced care. If there’s a promising new treatment, you’ll find it at MU Health Care — including treatments only available through clinical trials. Our doctors are on the forefront of the latest discoveries in neuromuscular disease research.

At MU Health Care, you’ll receive a full spectrum of personalized care and services.