There are many problems that can affect muscles. Muscle disorders can cause weakness, pain or even paralysis. Sometimes, there may not be a known cause for a muscle disorder. However, some known causes include:
- Injury or overuse, such as sprains or strains, cramps or tendinitis
- Genetics, such as muscular dystrophy
- Some cancers
- Inflammation, such as myositis
- Diseases of nerves that affect muscles
- Certain medicines
Neuromuscular disorders affect the nerves that control your voluntary muscles, such as those in your arms and legs. Nerve cells (or neurons) send the messages that control these muscles. When the neurons become unhealthy or die, communication between your nervous system and muscles breaks down. As a result, your muscles weaken and waste away. The weakness can lead to twitching, cramps, aches and pains, and joint and movement problems. Sometimes it also affects heart function and your ability to breathe.
Examples of neuromuscular disorders include amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease), muscular dystrophy
and myasthenia gravis
Many neuromuscular diseases are genetic, though in some cases, an immune system disorder can cause them. Most of these diseases of them have no cure, so the goal of treatment is to improve symptoms, increase mobility and lengthen life.