Pediatric Neuromuscular Disorders
Neuromuscular disorders affect the peripheral nervous system, causing muscle weakness, pain and various other symptoms.
The neuromuscular system includes all muscles throughout the body and the nerves that connect them. There are a wide variety of neuromuscular disorders that can occur in children. These conditions impact the peripheral nervous system, which includes the muscles, neuromuscular (nerve-muscle) junction, peripheral nerves in the limbs and motor-nerve cells in the spinal cord.
There are many types of neuromuscular disorders, including:
- Brachial plexopathy – This is a condition in which there is damage on each side of the neck where the nerve roots from the spinal cord split into the nerves for each arm.
- Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome (CMT) – CMT is an inherited neurological disorder that often causes problems with walking, speaking, breathing and swallowing.
- Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) – CIDP is a neurological disorder that causes progressive weakness and reduced function in the arms and legs.
- Congenital myopathy – Congenital myopathies are a group of rare, congenital (present at birth) muscle diseases that are caused by genetic defects.
- Guillain-Barre syndrome – Guillain-Barre syndrome causes the body’s immune system to attack the nerves, which can eventually lead to paralysis throughout the body.
- Muscular dystrophy – Muscular dystrophy is an inherited, genetic condition that causes weakness in the muscle and usually shows signs in the first few years of a child’s life.
- Myasthenia gravis – Myasthenia gravis causes weakness and rapid fatigue of the muscles over which a person normally has control.
While signs and symptoms vary according to the specific neuromuscular condition, some of the hallmarks of these conditions are pain and muscle weakness.