A neurologist diagnoses, treats and manages illnesses affecting the brain, spinal cord, cranial nerves, peripheral nerves, autonomic nervous system and neuromuscular junction.
They often order diagnostic scans, such as MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), CT, positron emission tomography (PET), online neurologist and single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). Some neurologists also test nerve function by using electrodes and needles on the skin to detect abnormalities in the brain or muscles.
Neurologists diagnose and treat a variety of medical conditions that affect the brain and spinal cord. They may also treat disorders of the nerves and muscles that activate movement or send sensations to the brain.
A consultation with a neurologist begins with an exam. This may include tests involving cranial nerves, coordination and motor skills, sensory testing and cognitive abilities.
If you have a neurological problem, your primary care doctor may refer you to see a neurologist. They can help you figure out what’s causing your symptoms, recommend a treatment plan and monitor your progress.
A neurologist can also diagnose and treat chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS). This disease causes changes in the central nervous system that lead to weakness, numbness, and tingling. A neurologist can also prescribe medications that slow the progression of the disease.
Neurologists provide treatment for patients suffering from a wide range of illnesses, disorders, and injuries that affect the nervous system. Their treatments include medication, procedures, surgery, and physical therapy.
Before they can diagnose a patient, a neurologist performs a thorough history and neurological examination. This allows the neurologist to pinpoint the exact location of the problem.
Once they determine the cause of the problem, they can start to find the best treatment for the individual. Depending on the condition, they may prescribe medications or recommend procedures, such as an epilepsy procedure, which can help prevent seizures.
After a diagnosis, the neurologist works with patients to develop a plan of care that involves the use of other health professionals, such as a psychologist. They also consult with a patient’s primary physician to determine the best approach to treating the illness or injury.
When you have a neurological condition, your neurologist can offer treatment options and help you manage the symptoms of your illness. They also can help you prevent or reduce the impact of your illness on your life.
They’ll do tests to check your memory and coordination, and your eyesight and other senses. These tests may include a lumbar puncture (a needle is inserted into the spinal cord) and other medical procedures, such as electroencephalograms and neuropsychological testing.
Your neurologist will also examine you for signs of seizures, as well as other conditions. A seizure can be caused by a number of problems, including meningitis, low blood glucose levels, high blood pressure or kidney failure.
Your neurologist can also test for inner ear problems that cause dizziness or disequilibrium. These are usually not life-threatening, but they can make it difficult to walk or drive safely.
Neurologists provide education about the brain and nervous system. They perform tests to diagnose the cause of a problem, prescribe medication and create strategies to treat conditions.
As a neurologist, you’ll be part of a team that works together to care for patients. You may also be responsible for research, training and teaching medical students and other specialists.
To become a neurologist, you’ll need to get a college degree, complete 4 years of medical school and then an internship and 3 years of specialty training in the field of neurology. Some go on to receive additional training in one of many subspecialties, such as stroke, epilepsy, headache, neuromuscular disorders, sleep medicine or pain management.
As a neurologist, you’ll help ease the global burden of brain disease through prevention and advocacy. You’ll speak out on behalf of patients and caregivers in medical settings and in healthcare policy, promoting awareness of lifelong brain health and empowering patients to advocate for themselves.