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If you or a loved one has a neuromuscular disorder, partnering with skilled neuromuscular specialists who understand your condition is essential. With the Charlotte region’s most experienced team, Atrium Health Neurosciences Institute is here to help you ease your symptoms and maximize your quality of life.

Our program features dedicated clinics that provide highly specialized care for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), muscular dystrophy and other neuromuscular disorders. And from the earliest stages to the most advanced, we go beyond treating your disease to care for your total well-being.

New patient appointments are by referral only. Ask your doctor if our program is right for you.

Why choose Atrium Health Neurosciences Institute?

  1. Nationally recognized care: We’re home to the only designated Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Care Center and ALS Association Certified Treatment Center of Excellence in the Charlotte region. We’re also one of only two Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association Centers of Excellence and Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation Centers of Excellence in the Carolinas.
  2. Neuromuscular expertise: Led by fellowship-trained neuromuscular disease doctors, our multidisciplinary team of specialists offers more expertise and experience than any other program in the area. Our ALS program is one of the largest nationwide, caring for hundreds of patients.
  3. Collaborative approach: Doctors, nurses, rehabilitation specialists and other experts work together to make sure you receive the best possible treatment for your unique needs. At our dedicated clinics, you can often see multiple members of your care team during a single visit.
  4. Innovative treatments: Our providers take advantage of the latest and most effective treatments for neuromuscular disorders. And through our leading neuromuscular research program, we offer clinical trials that give you access to the most promising therapies before they’re widely available.
  5. Continuing care: Along with Atrium Health Levine Children’s, our experts are equipped to provide seamlessly coordinated care for all ages. From your initial evaluation through lifelong management of your condition, we’re with you every step of the way.

Patient care – what we treat

Our leading experts use the latest technologies to diagnose and manage the full range of neuromuscular disorders.

Some conditions we treat include:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s disease)
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Spinal muscular atrophy
  • Inflammatory muscle diseases including polymyositis, dermatomyositis and body myositis
  • Genetic neuropathies including Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
  • Hereditary ataxia including Friedrich’s ataxia
  • Peripheral neuropathy and polyneuropathy
  • Inflammatory neuropathies
  • Neuromuscular junction disorders including myasthenia gravis

Neuromuscular disorder diagnosis and testing

When you’re experiencing symptoms of a neuromuscular disorder, you want answers. Our providers have specialized training and years of experience diagnosing these conditions, so you get an accurate diagnosis and the right treatment sooner.

Your doctor will start by taking a complete medical history and performing a physical and neurological exam. They may also recommend one or more tests, such as:

  • Imaging: To look at your brain and spinal cord, your doctor may use specialized imaging tests such as neuromuscular ultrasound, MRI or CT scans.
  • Spinal tap: During a spinal tap (or lumbar puncture), your provider places a special needle into your lower back to take a small sample of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) for testing. CSF is the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.
  • Electromyography (EMG): EMG is a test that measures the electrical activity of your nerves and muscles. Our EMG lab is accredited by the American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine for high-quality, safe care.
  • Nerve conduction study (NCS): During this test, also known as a nerve conduction velocity test, small electrodes on your skin stimulate the nerves with a low level of electricity. NCS is often done along with EMG.
  • Muscle, nerve and skin biopsy: Depending on your individual needs, a small sample of muscle, nerve or skin tissue may be taken to examine the health of your cells.
  • Genetic testing and counseling: Some neuromuscular diseases run in families. With genetic testing and counseling, we can check for an inherited risk for certain conditions and help you and your family navigate the results.
  • Quantitative muscle testing: We use a computer-based system to test the strength of specific muscles or muscle groups and evaluate the possible response to treatment.

Neuromuscular disorder treatment

Neuromuscular disorders affect each person differently, so it’s important that your treatment is tailored to you. Our specialists personalize your treatment plan to help you manage symptoms and maintain independence, providing comprehensive support at every step.

Depending on your condition, your treatment may include:

  1. Medication: We offer a wide variety of drugs that can reduce specific symptoms or keep them from getting worse. Your doctor will help determine which medications would most benefit you.
  2. Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG): Immunity-boosting antibodies are delivered through a vein in your arm. These antibodies help block inflammation, which can reduce symptoms.
  3. Plasma exchange: During this procedure, also called plasmapheresis, a special machine removes harmful antibodies from the blood and replaces them with healthy antibodies.
  4. Physical and occupational therapy: Our trained therapists help you maintain your functional abilities and find new ways to perform routine activities.
  5. Speech therapy: Our speech pathologists can help you overcome challenges related to communication and swallowing. If needed, they can guide you in using an augmentative and alternative communication device, including eye-gaze systems.
  6. Nutritional support: Our dietitians are here to ensure you get the right nutrients for your body. This can include guiding you through dietary changes or using a feeding tube (enteral therapy) to provide nourishment.
  7. Respiratory therapy: We offer treatments to help you breathe and avoid lung infections, including assistive ventilation equipment.
  8. Assistive devices: Braces, walkers, wheelchairs and other adaptive equipment can support you in everyday movement and prevent injuries. Our providers can recommend devices for you and your home and teach you how to use them.
  9. Support services: A dedicated social worker is available to patients and caregivers to provide emotional support, care navigation, connection to community resources and more.

Patient resources

Neuromuscular disorder research

The Carolinas Neuromuscular/ALS-MDA Center, part of Atrium Health Neurosciences Institute, is the Southeast’s major comprehensive facility for the study and treatment of degenerative neuromuscular diseases.

The center has two translational research laboratories: the Carolinas Neuromuscular/ALS Research Laboratory and the McColl-Lockwood Laboratory for Muscular Dystrophy Research. Here, we’re leading groundbreaking research that is transforming care for patients around the world.

Neuromuscular Web Images 2023 neuron

Find a clinical trial

Through our in-house neurosciences research, we give patients access to potentially breakthrough therapies. .

Use our search tool to find current clinical trials. To learn more about our available studies, talk to your doctor.

Search clinical trials

For referring providers

When you refer a patient to us, we keep you involved and up to date throughout their care. To make a referral, call our dedicated physician referral line at 704-468-0101 or send a fax to 704-468-0022.

Frequently asked questions

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