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Neuromuscular disorders include a large group of medical conditions that affect the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) or the peripheral nervous system (muscles, nerves and the connectors between muscles and nerves).
Cerebral palsy (CP) is the leading cause of childhood disabilities, occurring in 3.3 children per 1,000 live births according to the Centers for Disease Control. CP doesn’t progress (or get worse over time), but some symptoms may change during the child’s development. Other neuromuscular conditions include muscular dystrophy, which is actually a group of more than 30 inherited genetic disorders that lead to progressive weakness and muscle degeneration, and spina bifida, which is a neural tube birth defect that damages the spinal cord and nervous system.
Symptoms vary widely by person and condition, both in type and severity, but may include increased or decreased tone, loss of muscle mass, weakness, muscle twitching, shaking, cramping, stiff or tight muscles (spasticity), walking on the toes, a crouched gait, drop foot, numbness and tingling. Although there is no cure for these conditions, treatment can improve motor skills and ambulation.
To learn more about these conditions, take a look at these resources: