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Neurology is a field that deals with functions and disorders of the brain, spinal cord, and nervous system. A specialist in this field is referred to as a neurologist.
The nervous system is made of the central and peripheral nervous system, comprising of the brain, cranial nerves, spinal cord, and spinal nerves. Usually, a primary care physician would refer you to a neurologist on displaying neurological signs and symptoms such as tingling, numbness, headache, confusion, etc.
A neurologist treats conditions such as seizures, migraine, stroke, paralysis, spinal cord injuries, loss of sensation, muscular weakness, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinsonism, multiple sclerosis, acoustic neuroma, among others.
On your first visit, the doctor would test for your mental status, muscle strength, reflex activity, coordination, and gait analysis. This will give them a rough idea of what is bothering you. They would then order further tests and investigations to confirm their suspicions.
Some of the blood investigations and diagnostic tests they may ask you to perform are MRI, CT scan, EEG, EMG, nerve conduction tests, lumbar puncture, and PET scan. Upon receiving the reports of the test, the doctor will be able to confirm his diagnosis and accordingly provide treatment that would include medications, exercise therapy, counseling, cognitive behavior therapy, deep brain stimulation, and electrotherapy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is a neurologist?
A physician who provides diagnosis and provides medical treatment for patients suffering from diseases of the nervous system, which includes both central and peripheral nervous system, is called a neurologist.
What is the role of a neurologist?
Neurologists specialize in preventing, diagnosing, and treating diseases affecting the-
- The central nervous system, which is made up of the brain and spinal cord.
- The peripheral system, that consists of nerves that transmit sensations and signals from the brain to the rest of the body.
When to consult a neurologist?
If you have coordination problems, changes in any sensation like smell or touch, muscle weakness, dizziness, and confusion, consult a neurologist.
What are the common signs and symptoms of neurological disorders?
The common signs and symptoms of neurological disorders are loss of sensation or numbness in face or limbs, muscle weakness, seizures, chronic unexplained pain, etc.
What to expect during your first visit to a neurologist?
The neurologist will conduct neurological examinations to test muscle strength, coordination, and reflexes, after taking a complete history of your signs and symptoms. As it is difficult to distinguish one neurological problem from another, the doctor will suggest you get some of the following tests:
- Lumbar puncture.
- Tensilon test.
- Electromyography (EMG).
- Electroencephalogram (EEG).
- CT or MRI.
What are the conditions that a neurologist treats?
Neurologist commonly treat neurological conditions like seizure disorder (epilepsy), stroke, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, encephalitis, meningitis, brain abscess, and spinal cord problems.
Can stress cause neurological problems?
Yes. Too much stress can affect the nervous system and cause neurological problems like hallucinations and depression.
Can I consult a neurologist for headaches?
If your headache is not getting better with usual painkillers, and if the symptoms are getting worse, then it is best you consult a neurologist. A neurologist will conduct neurological examination and look for problems in the central nervous system, which can also cause severe headaches.