Frequently Asked Questions

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What is a neuromuscular disorder?

Neuromuscular disorders are acquired or inherited conditions that affect the nerves that control voluntary muscles, and the nerves that communicate sensory information back to the brain. Nerve cells (neurons) send and receive electrical messages to and from the body, to help control voluntary muscles. When the neurons become unhealthy or die, communication between the nervous system and muscles breaks down. As a result, muscles weaken and waste away (atrophy). The weakness can lead to twitching, cramps, aches and pains, and movement issues. If sensory nerves are damaged, balance problems, numbness, tingling or painful sensations can occur.

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Do neuromuscular disorders get worse?

While some neuromuscular disorders are progressive and currently do not have a cure (ALS, muscular dystrophy), others are usually easily managed with medications once accurately diagnosed (myasthenia gravis, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, CIDP). Even the diseases that are progressive often have effective treatments that can slow the disease or improve quality of life.  We are actively researching new ways to treat ALS and muscular dystrophy to help find cures in the future.

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What sets Cedars-Sinai's neuromuscular disorders team apart?

Cedars-Sinai’s comprehensive team features world-renowned clinicians and researchers with extensive experience and accomplishments in diagnosing and caring for patients with neuromuscular disorders. Our physicians and scientists also search for improvements in diagnosing patients, understanding genetic causes and discovering new therapies.

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How do I get a referral to see Cedars-Sinai's neuromuscular disorders specialists?

You will need a physician referral to be admitted to Cedars-Sinai for inpatient medical care. Depending on your healthcare insurance, you may need a referral from your primary care physician before seeing one of Cedars-Sinai neurological specialists. Please call 1-800-CEDARS-1 (1-800-233-2771), or email neurologicaldisorders@cshs.org for more information. For information on reaching us from outside the United States, please contact our International Health Services team.

Information on billing, insurance and medical records is available in the Cedars-Sinai Patient and Visitors Guide.

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I already have a diagnosis. Can I get a second opinion at Cedars-Sinai?

Yes. To get a second opinion about a neurological diagnosis with a Cedars-Sinai physician, please call 1-800-CEDARS-1 (1-800-233-2771) or email neurologicaldisorders@cshs.org.

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How should I prepare for my first appointment?

It is important for patients to be ready for an appointment to make the best out of the time spent with their physician. Here’s what you can do:

  • Write down and bring any questions about their condition or treatment.
  • Keep a record of symptoms, including any changes, and if the symptoms are affecting their work or personal life.
  • Bring a list of their current medications.
  • Bring prior medical records if the patient is transferring from a medical provider outside of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
  • Fill out any required paperwork in advance including medical record release authorization forms, referral request forms, patient intake form, and the patient privacy form.
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What should I expect at my first appointment?

New patient appointments generally last about an hour or so. After checking in with the nurse, the patient will meet with a Cedars-Sinai fellow or resident followed by a meeting with a neurologist. ALS and CMT patient appointments can last three to four hours and include visits with multiple professionals.

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What labs may take place that day? Do I need to do anything specific in preparation?

Some patients may undergo an electromyography (EMG) and/or nerve conduction study. Blood tests may be ordered as part of a clinical work up or for research. No preparation is necessary. However, you may want to be well hydrated.

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Should I bring someone with me?

Yes, we always encourage patients to bring a spouse, family member or close friend with them to their appointments.

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How can I find out more about ongoing clinical trials and whether I can participate?

Neuroscience experts at Cedars-Sinai are working to use their clinical experience and research knowledge to lead the way in finding new treatments, techniques and diagnostic procedures. Our ongoing clinical trials are open to all eligible participants, and patients are encouraged to pursue involvement. General information about participation in clinical trials at Cedars-Sinai can be found in our Patient and Visitors Guide.

Information on publications by our expert neurosciences team can be found at PubMed.gov.

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Where can I learn more about Cedars-Sinai?

For more than a century, Cedars-Sinai has been dedicated to excellence, compassion and innovation in patient care. Information about Cedars-Sinai and our history can be found in the About Us section of the website.