Houston Neurology & Sleep Diagnostic Center
Allen Chu, MD, PhD
Neuromuscular Medicine Specialist & Sleep Medicine Specialist located in Greater Houston, TX
While muscular weakness may be due to fatigue or functional limitations, you may also have a neurological disorder that’s interfering with your strength and mobility. If you are losing strength in your hands, feet, arms, or legs, make an appointment with Allen Chu, MD, PhD, at Houston Neurology & Sleep Diagnostic Center, in Houston, Texas. Dr. Chu is a board-certified neurologist who offers expert, customized medical treatments and care to relieve your symptoms and restore your quality of life. Call or make an appointment online today.
Patients presenting with muscle weakness may benefit from a consultation with a neurologist and neuromuscular specialist, especially when you observe any of the following:
Symptoms of myopathy with typical features of:
- Muscle pain and tenderness
- Proximal muscle weakness/atrophy
Elevated CPK levels
- Weakness that does not follow nerve or nerve-root distribution
If the weakness is accompanied by symptoms indicative of a central lesion, consider an immediate evaluation by a neurologist.
- Red flags” for a central lesion
- Lateralized neurological symptoms
- Increased reflexes
- Bowel/bladder dysfunction
- Nausea and/or fever
- Pain that does not follow focal nerve distribution
Neuromuscular disorders quite often present vague symptoms. The challenge for any physician is to distinguish between peripheral nerve involvement, muscle involvement and a serious condition involving the central nervous system. At Houston Neurology & Diagnostic Center, we specialize in supporting physicians whose patients present with neuromuscular disorder symptoms. Our founder, Allen Chu, MD, PhD, takes a consultative approach, working with both specialty and general physicians, from evaluation and diagnosis to treatment planning and long-term management of neuromuscular disorders.
Dr. Chu is a neuromuscular specialist, board-certified in neurology, electrodiagnostic medicine and sleep medicine and he holds a PhD in Neuroscience. In addition to the in-depth clinical expertise you want, Dr. Chu and everyone at the Center are dedicated to your patients’ excellent care and to serving you and your practice.
What conditions cause weakness?
There are many reasons why you might lose muscle strength, including neurological and muscle diseases such as:
- Muscular dystrophy
- Multiple sclerosis
- Myasthenia gravis
- ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
- Thyroid problems
- Rheumatic fever
- Muscular atrophy
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
Muscle weakness can develop slowly, or it may come on quickly, depending on the condition causing it. Your symptoms may also come and go and vary in their severity. For example, if you’re fatigued or suffering from a cold or other illness, your muscular weakness may increase.
What types of testing can diagnose the cause of my weakness?
If you’ve noticed decreased strength or muscular weakness that doesn’t improve with rest or if you have numbness or tingling sensations in addition to weakness, you should make an appointment with Dr. Chu. He provides thorough physical exams and a wide range of diagnostic tests to identify the condition causing your symptoms. In addition to your physical exam, he also orders tests including blood tests, muscle testing, electromyograms, and nerve conduction studies.
What is the treatment for weakness?
Treatment for your weakness depends on the condition causing it and other factors that contribute to your overall health and wellness. While many conditions don’t currently have cures, Dr. Chu offers treatments and therapies to slow the progression of your disease and improve your quality of life.
Muscular dystrophy and other muscle diseases
Dr. Chu may suggest medications to improve your muscle tone and strength combined with therapy to help you improve both the quality and length of your life. Your physical therapy may include stretches to improve your range of motion or low impact exercises like swimming to maintain your muscle tone and strength. You may also benefit from mobility aids and braces.
There is no known cure for ALS, although Dr. Chu offers treatments to increase your comfort and independence. He may prescribe medication combined with physical therapy to slow the progression of your symptoms and help you maintain the strength you need to keep your independence. Your treatment may also include breathing exercises.
Muscle atrophy often occurs after long periods of immobilization or as an effect of another illness or condition such as muscular dystrophy. Depending on the cause of your muscle wasting, you may improve with physical therapy, ultrasound treatments, and nutritional adjustments.
If you’re concerned about weakness, call Houston Neurology & Sleep Diagnostic Center or make an appointment online today.