In some cases, the diagnosis of peripheral nerve and muscle disease can be made from the clinical setting. As examples:
However, patients with disorders of nerves, muscle, or the neuromuscular junction can present with a similar constellation of symptoms. In addition, even when the process is localized to the nerve, it is not always clear if the origin of the problem is in the central or peripheral nervous system.
This topic will review the findings on history and physical examination that are characteristic of diseases of the nerve, muscle, and neuromuscular junction, and then present an approach to distinguishing central from peripheral neurologic disease. Specific neurologic syndromes are discussed in more detail separately.
CLINICAL DISTINCTION BETWEEN NERVE, MUSCLE AND NEUROMUSCULAR JUNCTION DISEASE
Diseases of the nerve (eg, polyneuropathy), muscle (eg, myopathy), and neuromuscular junction (eg, myasthenia gravis) may present with varying degrees of sensory loss and weakness. Nevertheless, specific patterns of the sensory and motor disturbance may help differentiate between these disorders.