What is a Neurologist?
A neurologist is a medical doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system. A neurologist’s educational background and medical training includes an undergraduate degree, four years of medical school, a one-year internship and three years of specialized training. Many neurologists also have additional training in one area of neurology such as stroke, epilepsy or movement disorders.
What is the role of the Neurologist?
Neurologists are principal care providers or consultants to other physicians. When a patient has a neurological disorder that requires frequent care, a neurologist is often the principal care provider. Patients with disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease or multiple sclerosis may use a neurologist as their principal care physician.
In a consulting role, a neurologist will diagnose and treat a neurological disorder and then advise the primary care physician managing the patient’s overall health. For example, a neurologist would act in a consulting role for conditions such as stroke, concussion or headache.
Neurologists can recommend surgical treatment, but do not perform surgery. When treatment includes surgery, neurologists will monitor surgically treated patients and supervise their continuing treatment. Neurosurgeons are medical doctors who specialize in performing surgical treatments of the brain or nervous system.
What does a neurologist treat?
Neurologists treat disorders of the nervous system, brain, spinal cord, nerves, muscles and pain. Common neurological disorders include:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
- Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries
- Brain Tumors
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Peripheral Nerve Disorders
- Sleep Disorders
How are neurological disorders treated?
Many disorders can be treated. Treatment or symptomatic relief is different for each condition. To find treatment options, neurologists will perform and interpret tests of the brain or nervous system. Treatment can help patients with neurological disorders maintain the best possible quality of life.
What is a neurological examination?
During a neurological examination, the neurologist reviews the patient’s health history with special attention to the current condition. The patient then takes a neurological exam. Typically, the exam tests vision, strength, coordination, reflexes and sensation. This information helps the neurologist determine if the problem is in the nervous system. Further tests may be needed to confirm a diagnosis or to find a specific treatment.
Why do patients need a neurological examination?
An examination is used when a family doctor seeks a specialized opinion about a patient whose symptoms may involve the brain or nervous system. The examination may also be performed when a patient wants a second opinion from a neurologist. The neurologist’s expertise in disorders of the brain and nervous system can give patient’s effective diagnosis and treatment for neurological disorders