Types of Neuromuscular Diseases

Diseases of the neuromuscular system include:

  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Myopathy
  • Diseases of the neuromuscular junction (e.g., myasthenia gravis)
  • Motor neuron disease (e.g., ALS)
  • Mononeuropathies

The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are typically numbness, tingling, weakness or burning pain in both feet or in the hands and feet.

Patients with muscle disease, or myopathy, typically have painless weakness that affects both sides of the body equally, commonly in muscles that affect their ability to use their arms over their head or arise from chairs or ascend stairs easily.

Patients with neuromuscular transmission problems often have weakness in muscles in the head or neck area, causing drooping of eyelids, double vision, or difficulty with swallowing, speaking, chewing or breathing. These symptoms tend to worsen with use or as the day goes on.

Motor neuron disease patients have painless weakness that usually begins in one hand or one foot, but may start with problems speaking or swallowing, as well.

Patients with mononeuropathies usually become aware of numbness, tingling or weakness in a limited area of one or more limbs.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Following neuromuscular specialty consultation, we may recommend patients undergo the following tests:

  • EMG and nerve conduction studies, including single fiber EMG
  • Quantitative sensory testing
  • Autonomic nervous system testing

We may also refer our patients to the following specialty clinics for additional treatment:

  • Curt & Shonda Schilling ALS Clinic
  • Muscular Dystrophy Association Clinic

To reach either of the above clinics, please call 781.744.8630.

Expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of both rare and common neuromuscular diseases is offered by Drs. Jennifer Grillo, Gisela Held, Doreen Ho, Sara Mayer, Kit Mui, Jayashri Srinivasan, and Michal Vytopil. In addition to providing highly specialized clinical care, these physicians are actively engaged in a number of neuromuscular disease research studies. The team also educates fellows in the highly competitive Neurology-Neurophysiology/EMG Fellowship program.

Please call 781.744.8630 to request an appointment with one of our neuromuscular disease specialists.

Lahey Hospital & Medical Center is proud to partner with the ALS Association Massachusetts Chapter to offer a center of excellence for people living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The purpose of the Curt & Shonda Schilling ALS Clinic is to enable patients to maintain a maximum level of neurological functioning in a supportive and understanding environment. It is one of the only ALS Association Clinic in Massachusetts.

Goals of the ALS Clinic

The goals of the Clinic are to:

  • Provide ALS patients with optimal care and treatment, as well as support for their families
  • Maximize patient function, safety and comfort
  • Educate patients and their family members about new information regarding the disease and its treatment
  • Facilitate patient participation in clinical trials
  • Coordinate care with the patient’s primary care physician

A Multidisciplinary Patient Care Team

Under the leadership of co-directors James A. Russell, DO, and Gisela Held, MD, our commitment is to provide the best possible multidisciplinary clinic for the evaluation and treatment of ALS and related disorders. Each of the patient’s visits to the Clinic allows him or her and designated family members the opportunity to meet with the full team of specialists, including neurologists, a nurse practitioner, physical therapists, an occupational therapist, speech and swallowing therapists, a respiratory therapist, a nutritionist and social workers. Our patient care team includes the following health care professionals:


  • Doreen Ho, MD (Director)
  • Gisela Held, MD
  • Janet W. Zani, MS, APRN, BC


  • Rebecca P. Bradley, MS, RD, CDE
  • Olivia Gross, RD, LDN


  • Julie Murray, OTR/L


  • Kristy Allen, DPT
  • Bridget R. Steen, MS, PT


  • Patricia J. Tauer, CRT


  • Stacey R. Kohler, MSW, LICSW


  • Kerry Golcher, MS, CCC-SLP
  • Courtney Henry, MS, CCC-SLP
  • Marissa Jones, MS, CCC-SLP
  • Elizabeth Murphy, MS, CCC-SLPEva M. Michalakis, MS, CCC-SLP

We can also arrange for our patients to meet with vendors of durable medical equipment and a representative of the ALS Association Massachusetts Chapter.


ALS Clinic appointments are held on the second and third Mondays of every month at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, Burlington, in the Neurology Clinic on 7 West. Please call Ally at 781.744.8630 to schedule or change an appointment.

Patient Referrals

Patients with a diagnosis of ALS established by a Lahey Hospital & Medical Center physician are eligible to participate in the Clinic. Patients with a diagnosis established outside of Lahey Hospital & Medical Center or with a suspected but uncertain diagnosis will require an initial evaluation prior to Clinic enrollment. Patients may be referred by the ALS Association Massachusetts Chapter, a neurologist, or a primary care physician, as well. In addition, patients may also be self-referred.

Depending on a particular patient’s needs, he or she will visit the Clinic approximately every two months. Patients are encouraged to remain under the care of their primary care physician while also receiving treatment through the Curt & Shonda Schilling ALS Clinic.

How You Can Help

The Curt & Shonda Schilling ALS Clinic exists because of the generous support that World Series ace pitcher Curt Schilling and his wife, Shonda, have given to patient services and research for ALS. Their generosity creates a ripple effect for others to give.

We are grateful to families and friends of patients who have made contributions in honor or memory of their loved ones. These families understand the daily struggles facing people with ALS and know first-hand the suffering associated with this disease. With continued support from caring people, corporations and foundations, the Clinic will continue to provide hope for those who are struggling with ALS today.

Funds designated for use by the Clinic’s medical staff support transportation, respite care, equipment acquisition and education. Gifts to enhance the facilities of Lahey Hospital & Medical Center’s Department of Neurology make it possible to continue delivering the best health care in a state-of-the-art medical center.

To support the Curt & Shonda Schilling ALS Clinic, you may make a gift online or call Lahey’s Philanthropy Office at 781.744.3333.

Many of our patients are seen in our Muscular Dystrophy Clinic, sponsored by the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). Funding is available through the MDA to help our patients with hardware and payment for medications. Expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of neuromuscular diseases, many of which are rare, is offered by H. Royden Jones, Jr., MD; James Russell, DO; and Jayashri Srinivasan, MD.


Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, 41 Mall Road, Burlington, MA 01805. Directions


Patients are seen only at the request of referring physicians, who should call 781.744.8630 to schedule an appointment for a patient.

ALS Association

Massachusetts Chapter

Northern New England Chapter


Muscular Dystrophy Association

Massachusetts Chapter

Northern New England Chapter


Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation

819 Second Street SW
Rochester, MN 55902
Fax: (507) 287-6312