Neurology is the branch of medicine which specializesin the study and treatment of disorders of the nervous system. The nervous system is a complex, sophisticated system that regulates and coordinates body activities. It has two major divisions:
- Central nervous system: the brain and spinal cord
- Peripheral nervous system: sensory receptors like eyes, ears, skin etc
A doctor who specializes in neurology is called a neurologist. Before they can practice, neurologists mustgraduate from medical school, complete an internship and receive three years of training in a Neurology residency program.
The neurologist conducts tests and treats disorders that will affect the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. Symptoms that commonly require a neurologist intervention includes:coordination problems, muscle weakness, a change in sensation, confusion and dizziness.
People who are having issuesand conditions relating to their senses, such as touch, vision, or smell, might also need to see a neurologist. Problems with senses are sometimes caused by the nervous system disorders.
Neurologists also see patients with:
- seizure disorders, such as epilepsy
- multiple sclerosis
- neuromuscular disorders, such as myasthenia gravis
- infections of the nervous system, including encephalitis, meningitis, or brain abscesses
- Spinal cord disorders
- headaches, like cluster headaches and migraines
Neurologists, generally do not perform surgery. If one of their patients requires any surgery, they refer them to a neurosurgeon.
During a patient’s first appointment with a neurologist, he/she will likely perform a physical exam and a neurological exam. A neurological exam will test the patient’s muscle strength, reflexes, and coordination. Since different disorders can have similar symptoms, the neurologist would need more testing to come to a diagnosis.
Neurologists may recommend a variety of procedures to help diagnose or treat a condition. These procedures may include:
- Lumbar puncture: Doing a Lumbar puncture test, the neurologist can test the patient’s spinal fluid.This testwould be recommended if they believe your symptoms are caused by a problem in your nervous system that can be easily identified in your spinal fluid.
- Tensilon test: This test will help the neurologists to check the patient’s muscle movements.
- Electroencephalogram (EEG): This test is done to measure electrical activity in the patient’s brain.