What Does a Neurologist Do?

We all have experienced pain at some point in our lives. Most of the time, an aspirin will help alleviate mild muscle aches and pains, and normally it takes care of the occasional headache. However, if other symptoms accompany the pain like numbness, dizziness, fatigue, or if you are also having problems with bowel or bladder control, your primary care physician may refer you to a neurologist. So just what does a neurologist do?

What Is a Neurologist?

The branch of medicine that studies and treats disorders of the central nervous system or the brain and spinal cord, and the peripheral nervous system, such as ears, eyes, and skin is called neurology. A neurologist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases associated with the brain and nervous system. Some neurologists continue training specializing in a specific area such as epilepsy, stroke, or movement disorders.

Educational Requirements

The educational backgrounds of the neurologist include an undergraduate degree, four years of medical school, internship for one year, and three years of specialized training. The neurologist is board-certified in neurology and internal medicine, and they do not perform surgery. When patients are diagnosed with a neurological disorder that requires frequent care, neurologists become the principal care providers and become consultants to other physicians. For example, patients who have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's, or Parkinson's diseases, have a need for a neurologist as their principal care physician. The neurologist's role is to diagnose and serve an advisory to the primary care physician that's managing the patients' health.

What Does a Neurologist Do?

Neurologists dedicate their lives to treating central nervous system disorders. This profession requires a considerable understanding of physiology and anatomy, along with other body systems such as the digestive and endocrine systems, respiratory, and the cardiovascular system. All this in depth knowledge is needed because anything affecting these systems could have a direct impact on brain function, and lead to neurological disease.

1. For Patients' Physical and Emotional Status

So what does a neurologist do? They may encounter patients who suffer severe speech impairment, or seizures, some may even have lost the ability to move their limbs. These medical experts have the ability to cope with the stress that the patients are experiencing, while remaining emotionally stable. Furthermore, they are able to recognize small symptoms and details that enable them to treat disease in its early stages, and perhaps even save the patients' life.

2. For Infectious Disease

Another area for the neurologist is an infectious disease. A great example of neurological disease caused by infection is Meningitis. The primary care physician may initially refer the patient to an infectious disease specialist. However, if there is a potential for severe damage to nerve function, a neurologist may take over the case.Additionally,neurologists have in depth knowledge of bacteria and antibiotics, because many infections can affect the brain initially, or can reach the brain as the infection progresses.

3. For Peripheral Nerve Disease

People who have a peripheral nerve disease, such as speech or eyesight impairment, sensitivity to pain, and sensitivity to touch perception, or even loss of muscle function, could lead to the need of an experienced neurologist. Patient's with epilepsy, another major disease, will also be addressed and facilitated by the neurologist.

When Do You Need a Neurologist?

Seeing a neurologist will help you to have a clear idea of what problems you're having and rule out any worrisome conditions that you suspect you have.

  • ŸMigraines: These serious and debilitating headaches are often accompanied by other symptoms such as vomiting, sensitivities to light, and seizures. Migraines are headaches that come on suddenly and are sometimes triggered by everyday stress and strain that quickly become debilitating.
  • ŸDizziness: If you feel things around you are spinning, or you are having difficulty keeping your balance, you may need the services of a neurologist to make sure it's not something more serious such as vertigo or disequilibrium.
  • ŸChronic pain: Pain that continues for a long period of time, or pain that recurs consistently, could be a sign of a more serious issue. If the pain continues and is also accompanied by other symptoms like weakness, numbness, or if you have trouble with bladder or bowel control, see medical help immediately.
  • ŸStroke: If you are noticing a weakness, or numbness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of your body, seek medical treatment immediately.
  • ŸMuscle weakness: If you find yourself struggling to stand or lift objects, difficulty in walking, clumsiness, tremors, or if you have muscle jerking, it may be a sign of something more serious.
  • ŸSeizures: Symptoms of seizures include, jerking movements of the arms and legs, breathing problems, and confusion. It could be the result of epilepsy, drug withdrawal symptoms, or other neurological disorders.
  • ŸVision and speech: Any trouble you may have with your vision or speech such as blurry vision, double vision, or dim vision, you speak with shaky a voice or if you develop a stutter, could be signs of a nervous system disorder.

How Will a Neurologist Test You?

While most disorders are treatable, the treatment or relief is different depending on the condition. In order for the neurologist to find treatment options, they have to perform and interpret tests and evaluations of the brain and central nervous system. The goal is to find a treatment that helps those people with neurological disorders to maintain the best quality of life. So what does a neurologist do?

A neurologist starts an evaluation of a patient with a neurological exam, assessing basic brain functionality, and evaluates each of the patient's peripheral nerve groups. This investigation yields a better understanding about the location of problems in the patient's central nervous system.

  • ŸDuring the examination the patients' health history is reviewed paying particular attention the current conditions by the neurologist.
  • ŸThe next phase in the examination process test vision, strength, reflexes, and coordination.
  • ŸEventually, all of this information is compiled by the neurologist when making a determination if the problem is in the nervous system. Other tests may follow based on the assessment to confirm a diagnosis, and prescribe a specific treatment.
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