Neurological conditions and treatments

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ETMC Neurological Institute treats broad range of conditions

This list of terms used for neurological conditions and treatments is intended to keep you and your loved ones well-informed through the process of diagnosis, treatment and recovery. It also may help guide you to the appropriate specialty within the ETMC Neurological Institute.

Keeping you informed is part of our pledge of advancing care and enhancing lives for all the people of East Texas. We want you to understand the steps we are taking, so if you have a question, please call 903-594-2958 or 800-728-2702.

Ataxia
Loss of the ability to coordinate muscle movement, resulting in unsteady posture and frequent falls. Ataxia may be caused by birth trauma, genetic disorder, infection, neoplasm or injury. Diagnosed and treated by neurologists at the ETMC Neurological Institute.

Autism
A spectrum of developmental disabilities, typically appearing before a child is 3 years old, involving delays in the ability to socialize, form relationships with others and communicate effectively. The ETMC Neurological Institute offers diagnosis and treatment of autism in adult patients.

Batten disease
A rare genetic disorder usually evidenced by progressive loss of vision, seizures and neurological degeneration between ages 5 and 15. The ETMC Neurological Institute offers diagnosis and treatment.

Birth defects
Lay term for disorders that are present at birth. The ETMC Neurological Institute diagnoses and treats many neurological conditions that are present from the birth of a child.

Blepharospasm
Involuntary muscle spasms and contractions of the muscles around the eyes, manifested as twitching or blinking. It is one of a group of disorders collectively known as dystonia. The ETMC Movement Disorders Center offers diagnosis and treatment.

Blood patch
This is a method for repairing a hole in the dura mater membrane of the spinal cord, typically caused by a spinal tap. The anesthesiologist inserts a needle and uses the patient’s own blood to form a clot in the area and seal the hole.

Botox injections
Botulinum toxin, often referred to by the trademark Botox, is popularly known as a cosmetic treatment for removing wrinkles, but as a neuromuscular blocking agent it has many applications in treating movement disorders and relieving muscle pains. Used by the ETMC Movement Disorders Center and the ETMC pain management clinic.

Brain disorders
The ETMC Neurological Institute offers diagnosis and treatment for a wide variety of conditions in the brain.

Caudal epidural
An injection delivering steroids into the lowest portion of the epidural space, termed the caudal. Performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

Celiac plexus block
Injection of medication into the back, blocking the nerves of the celiac plexus, which surround the aorta, in order to help relieve abdominal pain, usually due to cancer or chronic pancreatitis. Performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

Cervical interlaminar epidural
An injection delivering steroids into the epidural space around spinal nerve roots to provide temporary pain relief. This would be an injection in the region of the upper seven cervical vertebrae of the spine. Performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

Cervical selective epidural
An injection delivering steroids into selected epidural spaces in the upper seven cervical vertebrae of the spine. In addition to intended pain relief, the injection has diagnostic value if the selected nerve is responsible for the pain. Performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

Charcot-Marine-Tooth disease
A group of disorders affecting the motor or sensory peripheral nerves, resulting in muscle weakness, atrophy and sensory loss. The ETMC Movement Disorders Center offers diagnosis and treatment.

Chorea
A degenerative nervous disorder characterized by spasmodic, hyperactive, dancelike movements of the body and limbs. The ETMC Movement Disorders Center offers diagnosis and treatment.

Coccyx injection
Injection of steroids or other medications may be made directly into joint areas to provide maximum pain relief. The coccyx or tailbone is the last segment of the vertebral column. Performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

Costotransverse and costovertebral joint injection
Injection of steroids or other medications may be made directly into joint areas to provide maximum pain relief. The costotransverse and costovertebral joints are located between the ribs and the vertebrae. Performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

Crippling disorders
Term used when an anxiety or movement disorder becomes severe enough to prevent the patient from participating in his or her social world. The ETMC Movement Disorders Center offers diagnosis and treatment.

Disc aspiration
A minimally invasive procedure to draw fluid from a spinal disc for diagnosis. Performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

Discography
This is the injection of a local anesthetic and dye into spinal discs to determine which ones are painful. The information will assist in planning treatment for the pain. Performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

DiscTrode
The DiscTrode procedure is a minimally invasive outpatient treatment for back pain in which nerve endings in intervertebral discs are cauterized by insertion of a catheter electrode delivering radiofrequency thermal energy. It is similar to IDET and nucleoplasty treatments. Performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

Dizziness
A common symptom for many disorders, ranging from trivial to grave. The ETMC Neurological Institute offers accurate diagnosis and effective treatment for many neurological conditions.

Down syndrome
A set of physical and mental traits, including some degree of intellectual disability, that are present at birth and throughout life. With care and support children with Down syndrome can grow up to have healthy, happy, productive lives. The ETMC Neurological Institute offers diagnostic tests and support systems for the child and parents.

Dysautonomia
An umbrella term for conditions affecting the autonomic nervous system, which controls “automatic” functions of the body including heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, dilation of the eyes, kidney function and temperature control. There is no cure, but the ETMC Neurological Institute offers support and education.

Dystonia
A movement disorder in which a person’s muscles contract uncontrollably. The ETMC Movement Disorders Center offers diagnosis and treatment, including deep brain stimulation when appropriate.

Epidural catheter placements
The placement of a catheter in the epidural space of the spine, whether as a diagnostic technique or to administer anesthesia. Performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

Epilepsy
A large group of related disorders characterized by a tendency for recurrent seizures. More than 2 million people in the U.S. have epilepsy, and about 150,000 new cases are diagnosed every year. The ETMC Neurological Institute offers diagnosis and treatment.

Facet joint injection
Injection of steroids or other medications may be made directly into joint areas to provide maximum pain relief. Facet joints are small stabilizing joints between and behind adjoining vertebrae in the spine. These injections are performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

Familial
Meaning “of a family,” this is the term often used to describe a wide range of genetic neurological conditions that have varying degrees of severity and effects on patients. The ETMC Neurological Institute has experience in helping patients and their families cope with these issues.

Guillain-Barré syndrome
A nervous system condition that causes muscle weakness, loss of reflexes and numbness or tingling, and which can cause paralysis and lead to death, although most people recover and have few lasting problems. The ETMC Neurological Institute offers diagnosis and treatment.

Head injury
The ETMC Neurological Institute can diagnose and determine the severity of head injuries and speed recovery.

Headache
May range from a mild inconvenience to migraine, tension and sinus headaches that can cause nausea, confine the victim to a darkened room or signal the presence of other conditions. The ETMC Neurological Institute offers experienced experts to diagnose and treat all kinds of headaches.

Hemifacial spasm
Involuntary spasmodic movements of the facial muscles that may have various causes. The condition is usually treated with medication at the ETMC Movement Disorders Center.

Hip injection
Injection of steroids or other medications may be made directly into joint areas to provide maximum pain relief. Performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

Huntington’s disease
A hereditary and progressive brain disorder that can strike at any age and with a wide range of symptoms and severity. The ETMC Movement Disorders Center offers diagnosis and help in managing the disease.

Hydrocephalus
When the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid is inhibited, the fluid accumulates in the skull, causing pressure on the brain and sometimes resulting in an enlarged head. The ETMC Neurological Institute offers diagnosis, treatment and support to individuals and the families that are affected.

Hypogastric nerve blocks
Injection of medication to relieve pelvic pain from a variety of causes. The hypogastric plexus is a bundle of nerves near the bottom of the spinal cord, and the injection is done with the assistance of X-ray guidance. Performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

IDET
Intradiscal Electrothermal Annuloplasty is a minimally invasive outpatient treatment for back pain in which nerve endings in intervertebral discs are cauterized by insertion of an electrothermal catheter. It is similar to DiscTrode and nucleoplasty treatments. Performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

Intercostal nerve block
Injection of medication that helps relieve pain in the chest area caused by a shingles (herpes zoster) infection or a surgical incision. Intercostal nerves are located under each rib. Performed by the ETMC pain management clinic.

Involuntary movements
The ETMC Movement Disorders Center has the resources, expertise and experience to diagnose the causes of involuntary movements and help patients return to normal lives.

Knee injection
Injection of steroids or other medications may be made directly into joint areas to provide maximum pain relief. Performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

Language disorders
The team of neurologists, speech therapists and related healthcare professionals offers help to those with various language disorders.

Learning disabilities
The ETMC Neurological Institute offers a team of neurologists and specialists in related fields to help define the patient’s disability.

Leukodystrophy
The leukodystrophies are a group of rare genetic disorders that disrupt the myelin sheath that insulates nerve cells, causing progressive disorders. The ETMC Neurological Institute offers patients diagnosis, treatment and support.

Lumbar interlaminar epidural
An injection delivering steroids into the epidural space around spinal nerve roots to provide temporary pain relief. This would be an injection in the region of the lower five lumbar vertebrae of the spine. Performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

Lumbar selective epidural
An injection delivering steroids into selected epidural spaces in the lower five lumbar vertebrae of the spine. In addition to intended pain relief, the injection has diagnostic value if the selected nerve is responsible for the pain. Performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

Malignant hyperthermia
A rare genetic disorder, potentially fatal, that can be triggered by exposure to certain muscle relaxants or anesthesia used during surgery.
The ETMC Neurological Institute can administer a test to find out if a person has an increased risk of getting the disorder, and also offers diagnosis and treatment.

Medial branch blocks
Injection of anesthetic near the medial nerves connected to joints between vertebrae, given to determine which joints are causing pain to the patient. The procedure is performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

Mental retardation
The ETMC Neurological Institute offers its expertise and experience in helping to diagnose, evaluate and recommend services for those on the wide spectrum of developmental disabilities.

Minimally invasive lumbar decompression (“mild” procedure)
The mild procedure is a treatment for lumbar spinal stenosis using a minimally invasive surgical technique to remove small portions of bone and tissue causing pressure on the nerves. Performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

Moebius syndrome
A rare nerve disorder making it impossible for the patient to move his or her face to smile, frown or blink. The ETMC Neurological Institute offers diagnosis and treatment.

Morphine pump trials
These are tests of the efficacy of a medication delivery system. A morphine pump is surgically placed under the patient’s skin to supply a drug directly to the spinal cord, which means a smaller amount of drug is required and side effects are reduced. Performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

Mucopolysaccharidoses
A group of metabolic disorders that affect the nervous system and often the skeletal system, connective tissue and other organs, with varying degrees of severity. There may be cognitive impairment, behavioral problems and physical symptoms such as rough facial features, short stature and excessive body hair. The ETMC Neurological Institute offers diagnosis and treatment.

Multiple sclerosis
A condition affecting the brain and spinal cord, with symptoms including weakness, tingling, numbness and blurred vision. The ETMC Neurological Institute offers diagnosis and state-of-the-art treatment to help relieve symptoms and delay progression.

Muscular dystrophy
A group of diseases that cause progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass. There are different kinds and degrees of severity, and no cure is known, but the ETMC Neurological Institute offers diagnosis and treatment to help manage symptoms and slow the course of the disease.

Myasthenia gravis
A chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease that causes varying degrees of weakness in the voluntary muscles of the body. It seems to be caused by problems with the transmission of nerve impulses to muscles and to be related to the thymus gland, which is abnormally large in adults with the disorder. The ETMC Neurological Institute offers diagnosis and treatment.

Myoclonus
A quick, involuntary movement of a muscle – such as hiccups or so-called “sleep starts.” Although these can occur in healthy people, myoclonus may also be a result or symptom of a neurological disorder, and the ETMC Movement Disorders Center offers expert diagnostic services to find the cause and offer treatment.

Narcolepsy
A chronic sleep disorder characterized by overwhelming daytime drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep. Because people with narcolepsy often find it difficult to stay awake for long periods, the disorder can seriously disrupt the patient’s daily routine. The ETMC Sleep Disorders Center offers diagnosis and treatment for narcolepsy.

Neurofibromatosis
A rare genetic disorder that usually appears in childhood and may be characterized by soft bumps (tumors called neurofibromas) under the skin, tiny bumps on the iris of the eye, light brown spots on the skin, bone deformities, learning disabilities, larger than average head size and short stature. If you notice these symptoms in yourself or your child, contact the ETMC Neurological Institute for diagnostic services and treatment should it be necessary.

Nucleoplasty
Nucleoplasty therapy is a minimally invasive outpatient treatment for back pain coming from a spinal disc. A special probe is inserted into the disc to remove a small amount of tissue and then apply heat to the disc, usually by IDET or DiscTrode treatments. Performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

OA/AA injection
Injection of steroids or other medications may be made directly into joint areas to provide maximum pain relief. The occipital-atlanto and atlanto-axial joints are located near the juncture of the spine and the skull. These injections are performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

Pain
Millions of Americans experience chronic pain of some kind, and the medical community now recognizes the importance of caring professional treatment. The ETMC pain management clinic offers diagnosis and treatment of backache, neck pain, headache and other sources of pain.

Palsy
A term used to signify various kinds of paralysis, often accompanied by a loss of feeling and involuntary tremors. At the ETMC Movement Disorders Center, physicians are able to distinguish between related symptoms, arrive at an accurate diagnosis and recommend therapies and treatments.

Parkinson’s disease
A progressive malady of the nervous system that affects movement. Under the leadership of George Plotkin, MD, PhD, the ETMC Movement Disorders Center has become a well-known center of excellence for treatment of Parkinson’s disease, drawing patients from around the world.

Peripheral nerve blocks
Injection of a local anesthetic near the nerves that control sensation to a specific part of the body in order to numb the area, typically for surgery. Performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

Porphyria
A group of disorders caused by a problem in the production of heme, the blood protein that carries oxygen, that may result in a variety of symptoms. Acute porphyria affects the nervous system through limb and back pain, muscle weakness, tingling, loss of sensation, mental disorders, confusion and seizures. The ETMC Neurological Institute offers diagnosis and treatment.

Post-polio syndrome
A group of potentially disabling symptoms that may appear in an individual 30 to 40 years after the initial illness with polio. The ETMC Neurological Institute offers diagnosis and treatment.

Prader-Willi syndrome
A rare genetic disorder that is the most commonly known genetic cause of life-threatening obesity in children. Symptoms may include low muscle tone, short stature, incomplete sexual development, cognitive disabilities, problem behaviors and chronic feeling of hunger. The ETMC Neurological Institute offers diagnosis and treatment.

Progressive supranuclear palsy
A rare brain disorder that causes progressive problems with gait and balance along with eye movement and thinking problems. A classic sign of the disease is an inability to aim the eyes properly, causing blurred vision. The ETMC Movement Disorders Center provides diagnosis and treatment.

Pulsed RF
Pulsed radiofrequency is used to provide semi-permanent relief from nerve pain. An electrode in the shape of a needle is inserted near the identified pain-causing nerve. Pulsed electrical current creates an electrical field that blocks the nerve’s ability to transmit pain signals. The procedure, which is designed to relieve pain for several months and may be repeated, is performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

Radiofrequency neurotomy
A procedure to reduce back and neck pain by using needles, which are inserted in the skin above the spine, to transmit radio waves to targeted nerves. The radio waves interfere with the nerves’ ability to send pain signals. Performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

Reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome
A disorder of the sympathetic nervous system, which regulates involuntary functions such as increasing heart rate or blood pressure and is characterized by chronic, severe pain. The ETMC Neurological Institute offers diagnosis and treatment.

Restless legs syndrome
A neurological condition in which a person feels discomfort in the legs, such as tingling, itching, aching or cramping. Many people don’t realize that this very common condition can be diagnosed and treated at the ETMC Movement Disorders Center.

Rett syndrome
A neurodevelopmental disorder affecting girls almost exclusively. It is characterized by loss of the purposeful use of the hands, distinctive hand movements, slowed brain and head growth, and problems with walking, seizures and intellectual ability. The ETMC Neurological Institute offers diagnosis and treatment.

Reye’s syndrome
A rare but serious condition that can cause confusion, seizures and loss of consciousness, most often affecting children and teenagers recovering from a viral infection such as flu or chickenpox. Early diagnosis and treatment at the ETMC Neurological Institute can save a child’s life.

Sacroiliac joint injection
Injection of steroids or other medications may be made directly into joint areas to provide maximum pain relief. The sacroiliac joints are located between the sacrum and ilium bones of the pelvis. Performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

Shoulder injection
Injection of steroids or other medications may be made directly into joint areas to provide maximum pain relief. Performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

Sleep disorders
A broad category of ailments that interfere in some way with a person’s ability to get regular, healthful rest through sleep. The ETMC Sleep Disorders Center offers expertise and experience in diagnosis and treatment.

Spasticity
A muscle control disorder characterized by tight or stiff muscles, loss of control of those muscles and reflexes that persist too long and may be too strong. Spasticity may be associated with a variety of ailments, but physicians at the ETMC Neurological Institute have the experience and expertise to make an accurate diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment.

Spina bifida
A congenital disorder that occurs in three forms, varying in severity. The term most commonly refers to open spina bifida, in which a baby’s spinal canal remains open along several vertebrae in the lower or middle back, so that both the membranes and spinal cord protrude at birth, forming a sac on the baby’s back. The ETMC Neurological Institute offers diagnosis and surgical treatment.

Spinal cord stimulator trials
These are tests of a device that generates a low-level electrical field to interrupt the conduction of pain signals to the brain. If trials are successful, a spinal cord stimulator may be permanently implanted. Performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

Spinal injuries
Physicians of the ETMC Neurological Institute are well-qualified to identify and evaluate a wide variety of spinal injuries, and then begin the appropriate treatment to restore you or a friend or family member to health.

Spinal nerve blocks
Injection of medication into the spine to block pain. Performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

Splanchnic nerve block
Injection of medication near the splanchnic nerves, located on both sides of the spine, to help relieve upper abdominal pain, usually due to cancer or chronic pancreatitis. Performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

Stellate ganglion block
An injection of medication, done with the assistance of X-ray guidance, into the stellate ganglion, which is a group of nerves in the neck on either side of the voice box. The procedure is intended to relieve pain in the head, neck, upper arm and upper chest, as well as help increase blood circulation to the arm. Performed by the ETMC pain management clinic.

Stroke
ETMC Tyler was the first hospital in East Texas to become a certified stroke center as designated by The Joint Commission, indicating that the hospital is dedicated to providing high-quality stroke treatment and care. Several times the American Heart Association has presented ETMC Tyler with its gold plus achievement award for our treatment of stroke patients.

Subarachnoid drain
A device placed in the subarachnoid area of the spinal column, between the arachnoid membrane and the pia mater, to permit the safe drainage of cerebrospinal fluid. Used at the ETMC Neurological Institute to treat patients suffering a subarachnoid hemorrhage stroke.

Suprascapular nerve block
Injection of medication at the back of the shoulder to the major nerve serving the shoulder region. The procedure is done to relieve chronic pain or for diagnostic purposes. Performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

Sympathetic nerve block
Injection of medication into the sympathetic nerve chain, a network of nerves extending the length of the spine, to determine if there is damage to the chain. Performed by the ETMC pain management clinic.

Tardive dyskinesia
A neurological movement disorder characterized by involuntary movements of the tongue, lips, face, trunk and extremities. The condition occurs in some patients who use dopamine receptor-blocking drugs prescribed for certain psychiatric or gastrointestinal conditions, but it’s not known why some get tardive dyskinesia and some do not. The ETMC Neurological Institute offers diagnosis and treatment.

Tay-Sachs disease
A rare genetic disease causing a progressive deterioration of nerve cells and mental and physical abilities that begins at about 6 months of age and usually results in death by age 4. The ETMC Neurological Institute offers diagnosis and supportive care.

Thoracic interlaminar epidural
An injection delivering steroids into the epidural space around spinal nerve roots to provide temporary pain relief. This would be an injection in the region of the middle 12 thoracic vertebrae of the spine. Performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

Thoracic selective epidural
An injection delivering steroids into selected epidural spaces in the middle 12 thoracic vertebrae of the spine. In addition to intended pain relief, the injection has diagnostic value if the selected nerve is responsible for the pain. Performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

Tics
Motor tics are sudden movements, simple or complex, repetitive or not, that are termed unvoluntary – the person can suppress them but at the cost of discomfort that grows until it is relieved by performing the tic. Vocal tics are uttered sound. Tics may be associated with a variety of ailments, but physicians at the ETMC Neurological Institute have the experience and expertise to make an accurate diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment.

Torticollis
A condition in which the muscles contract uncontrollably, causing the neck to twist, flex, extend or tilt the head abnormally. Also known as wry neck, it may develop slowly in people with a family history or be brought on by trauma or an adverse reaction to medications. The ETMC Neurological Institute offers diagnosis to pin down the cause and treatment to correct it.

Tourette syndrome
A neurological disorder, starting in childhood, involving involuntary motor tics (eye blinking, shoulder shrugging, finger flexing) or vocal tics (yelling, repeating words, blurting offensive words). Symptoms usually appear between ages 2 and 12. Not all tics indicate Tourette syndrome, but if your child shows these signs, schedule an appointment with the ETMC Neurological Institute for diagnosis and, if needed, treatment.

Tremor
A shaking movement that may affect any part of the body, but is most often of the hands and arms. Tremors have many possible causes – stress, medication, lack of sleep or a variety of neurological disorders – so it’s important to come to the ETMC Movement Disorders Center for an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.

Trigeminal neuralgia
A chronic pain condition affecting the nerve that carries sensation from the face to the brain, so that even the mild stimulation of brushing teeth or putting on makeup may cause excruciating pain. It usually can be resolved with injections. The ETMC Neurological Institute offers diagnosis and treatment.

Trigger point injection
A method used to treat painful areas of muscle that contain trigger points, knots of muscle that form when muscles do not relax. Performed at the ETMC pain management clinic.

Tuberous sclerosis
A rare genetic disease causing benign tumors to grow in many parts of the body, usually beginning in infancy or childhood. Some cases are so mild that the condition isn’t diagnosed until adulthood, but others experience serious disabilities. The ETMC Neurological Institute offers diagnosis and treatment to help manage tuberous sclerosis.

Williams syndrome
A genetic disorder characterized by growth delays, a varying degree of mental deficiency, short stature and distinctive facial features including a round face, a large mouth, flared nostrils and a small lower jaw. The ETMC Neurological Institute offers diagnosis and treatment.

Wilson’s disease
A rare inherited disease that allows too much copper to accumulate in the liver, brain and other organs, causing signs of liver disease (tiredness, tendency to bleed, confusion) or neuropsychiatric issues (cognitive deterioration, slowed movements, lack of balance). Symptoms typically begin between ages 5 and 35. The disease is treatable when diagnosed early, so if you suspect it, call the ETMC Neurological Institute for diagnosis and treatment.