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.
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 diagnosis 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.
Many neurological 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.
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Epilepsy is a brain disorder in which clusters of nerve cells, or neurons, in the brain sometimes signal abnormally causing strange sensations, emotions, and behavior, or sometimes convulsions, muscle spasms, and loss of consciousness.
Head trauma as a result of a car accident or other traumatic injury can cause epilepsy. Brain conditions. Brain conditions that cause damage to the brain, such as brain tumors or strokes, can cause epilepsy. Stroke is a leading cause of epilepsy in adults older than age 35.
Drink a caffeinated beverage. In small amounts, caffeine alone can relieve migraine pain in the early stages or enhance the pain-reducing effects of acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) and aspirin. Be careful, however. Drinking too much caffeine too often can lead to withdrawal headaches later on.
Go Hot and Cold. If you have a migraine, place a cold pack on your forehead. Ice cubes wrapped in a towel, a bag of frozen peas, or even a cold shower may lessen the pain. Keep the compress on your head for 15 minutes, then take a break for 15 minutes.
Migraines are disabling headaches that most likely stem from problems with the nerves and blood vessels in the head. Migraine headaches typically last from 4-72 hours. They may occur as often as several times a week to only once a year. People who have migraines are called migraineurs.
Though migraine causes aren't understood, genetics and environmental factors appear to play a role. Migraines may be caused by changes in the brainstem and its interactions with the trigeminal nerve, a major pain pathway.
Movement disorders are neurological conditions that affect the speed, fluency, quality, and ease of movement. Abnormal fluency or speed of movement (called dyskinesia) may involve excessive or involuntary movement (hyperkinesia) or slowed or absent voluntary movement (hypokinesia).
Stereotypic movement disorder (SMD) is a motor disorder with onset in childhood involving repetitive, nonfunctional motor behavior (e.g., hand waving or head banging), that markedly interferes with normal activities or results in bodily injury.
A movement disorder specialist is a neurologist who has received additional training in Parkinson's disease (PD) and other movement disorders including dystonia, chorea, tics and tremors.