Neuromuscular Disorders

Neuromuscular system disorders affect nerves and muscles. Muscular dystrophy, ALS and related muscle-debilitating diseases take away physical strength, independence and life.  Learn more about the most common disorders; Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Muscular Dystrophy.

The Greenville Health System ALS Clinic recently achieved the ALS Association’s Recognized Treatment Center designation.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.

The initial symptoms of ALS can be quite varied in different people. One person may have trouble grasping a pen or lifting a coffee cup, while another person may experience a change in vocal pitch when speaking. ALS is typically a disease that involves a gradual onset.

Gradual onset, painless, progressive muscle weakness is the most common initial symptom in ALS. Other early symptoms vary but can include tripping, dropping things, abnormal fatigue of the arms and/or legs, slurred speech, muscle cramps and twitches, and/or uncontrollable periods of laughing or crying.

Nigel’s Experience With ALS

One day, WYFF 4 News Anchor Nigel Robertson got a call from his father; his dad, an active man and avid tennis player, complained about having issues with his foot. In two short years, his father lost his ability to move, due to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Here, Nigel shares his father’s story and why he’s so passionate about supporting the future of neurology care in the Upstate through the Prisma Health Neuroscience Institute.

Muscular Dystrophies

Muscular dystrophies are a group of inherited diseases that damage and weaken muscles over time. This damage and weakness is due to the lack of a protein called dystrophin, which is necessary for normal muscle function. The absence of this protein can cause problems with walking, swallowing, and muscle coordination.

There are more than 30 different kinds of muscular dystrophies, which vary in symptoms and severity. Muscular dystrophy can occur at any age, but most diagnoses occur in childhood. Young boys are more likely to have this disease than girls.

The prognosis for muscular dystrophy depends on the type and the severity of symptoms. However, most individuals with muscular dystrophy do lose the ability to walk and eventually require a wheelchair. There’s no known cure for muscular dystrophies, but certain treatments may help.

Through a grant from the Muscular Dystrophy Association, a new clinic led by Drs. Sandio Jain and Sergiu Besliu, is now held monthly at the Greer office of Neuroscience Associates. Call (864) 797-9070 for information.

How May We Help You?

Neuromuscular Disorders Specialists

Sandip Jain, MD

Sergiu Besliu, MD

Lihong Shen, MD, PhD


  • Every day, an average of 15 people are newly diagnosed with ALS — more than 5,600 people per year
  • As many as 30,000 Americans may currently be affected by ALS
  • Annually, ALS is responsible for two deaths per 100,000 people
  • ALS occurs throughout the world with no racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic boundaries
  • ALS can strike anyone


  • MD is rare with fewer than 200,000 US cases per year
  • Treatment can help, but this condition can’t be cured
  • MD is chronic lasting for years or a lifelong
"A  9 year old blond boy sitting in a wheelchair looks over his shoulder, smiling, confident of a recovery or simply satisfied with his life."