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Muscle gets weaker, smaller, hurts. NEUROGENIC ATROPHY/MS?

Resolved Question:

I'm concerned about neurogenic atrophy.

I'm currently being tested for MS but for the past 2 months my left shoulder has been getting smaller.

At this point my right is the size of a grapefruit and my left is like an orange. Its noticeable even wearing a shirt, as my friends have asked me about it a few times.

I've also gotten weaker (30% less strong than right side) and it hurts from time to time but mostly numb.

My questions are:
How quickly can neurogenic atrophy happen? Meaning does reducing half its size in a little more than a month be possible?
Is it possible to still control the muscle if neurogenic atrophy was occurring or would it be immobile?

Are there any tests to see what's going on?

Category: Family Physician-GP

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Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
 31 Doctors Online

Thank you for posting your query at
I have noted your symptoms and agree that there is muscle wasting (thinning of muscles). There are several causes of muscle wasting (as mentioned in the link sent by you), which needs to be evaluated with clinical examination as well as testing.
MS would not lead to muscle wasting usually.
It is usually due to nerve or muscle disease. Tests such as NCS and EMG would help in the confirmation of diagnosis.
Yes, neurogenic atrophy leading to muscle wasting can occur within one month. Also, atrophy leads to only partial weakness rather than total weakness in most cases, so, it is possible to control the muscles.
I hope it helps.
Best wishes,
Dr. Sudhir Kumar MD (Medicine), DM (Neurology)
Senior Consultant Neurologist

Patient replied :

Thanks for the response. Its not an optimistic answer but at least I don't need to question this anymore.
I know about EMG because I was afraid of ALS.
Lets say I do have neurogenic atrophy in my shoulder.
Does this mean at some point I'll lose my whole arm or just the muscle that's wasting away?

Thank you for getting back.
The condition needs to be investigated to ascertain the exact cause, and the overall outcome would depend on that. Definitely, it dies not look like ALS.
Also, I do not expect you to lose the function in your arm.
Best wishes,
Dr. Sudhir Kumar MD (Medicine), DM (Neurology)
Senior Consultant Neurologist

Patient replied :

Last question on this.
Does exercise accelerate neurogenic atrophy?

No, exercise will not accelerate the atrophy.
Rather some amount of exercise will be helpful.

Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy
Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
MBBS from Sri Ramachandra University in December 2011
M.Med (Family Medicine) - TNMGR University, Chennai
MBA-MPH in Public Health in March 2016, SRM University
Finished AFIH in March 2016, SRM University
MRCP ( UK ), Internal Medicine, Royal College of Physicians, June 2016
Fellowship in Diabetology from Martin Luther University in January 2017

Currently Resident Physician, in MD Radiodiagnosis - Kamakshi Memorial Hospital, Chennai
Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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