Differential diagnosis of myotonic disorders

Muscle Nerve. 2008 Mar;37(3):293-9. doi: 10.1002/mus.20923.


The presence of myotonia and paramyotonia on clinical examination and of myotonic discharges during electrodiagnostic (EDX) studies are important for the diagnosis of certain neuromuscular conditions. The increased muscle activity of myotonia produces muscle stiffness that improves with repeated activity. Paramyotonia produces a similar symptom, but the stiffness paradoxically increases with activity. Myotonic discharges are easily recognized on EDX testing because of the waxing and waning discharges. Myotonic dystrophy and myotonia congenita share both clinical and electrodiagnostic myotonia. Paramyotonia congenita and hyperkalemic periodic paralysis are associated with clinical paramyotonia and electrical myotonia. Acid maltase deficiency often produces myotonic potentials without clinical evidence of myotonia or paramyotonia. The differential diagnosis of these myotonic disorders is discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Myotonic Disorders / diagnosis*