Neurology is the medical field associated with the nervous system. The nervous system is comprised of two parts: the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. These systems contain both the brain and the spinal cord. Typically, a patient will see a neurologist if they have any type of affliction that effects either system. Seizure disorders, stroke, multiple sclerosis, neuromuscular disorder, meningitis, brain abscesses, Alzheimer’s, autoimmune disorders, migraines, cluster headaches, and encephalitis are just some of the large list of diseases a practicing neurologist deals with.
Neurology is concerned with the function of the nervous system, and how an irregularity in that function effects the body. It does not focus on mental disorders like depression or schizophrenia. This is the realm of a psychologist. Like any medical condition neurological disease have a set of noticeable systems. Having difficulties with any one of them might spell a trip to a neurologist. These symptoms are muscle weakness, changes in senses, confusion, coordination problems, dizziness, and severe headaches. Although hospitals have neurologists on staff, a lot of neurological treatment is outsourced to clinics.
Practicing neurologists have specialties just like other doctors. For instance, there are pediatrician neurologists that deal specifically with child neurology. Child neurology is different than adult neuro simply because the brain is still developing and growing. Dealing with neurological disease in adolescents requires a different kind of touch, which is why some specialize in that genre. Other sub-genres of neurology include: neuromuscular medicine, neuro-oncology, geriatric neurology, vascular, epilepsy, neuroradiology, autonomic disorders, neurocritical care, and headache.
When researching neurologists, it is a good idea to pay attention to their sub-specialties as your specific condition may fit under one and not the other. Also, when diagnosed with a neurological condition it is important to pay attention to the type of care prescribed. Hospitals can be pretty good at connecting patients with specific neurological care, but it is always wise to do your own due-diligence as well. There is a wide variety of clinics out there, so do your research and find out what neurological services and treatment los angeles ca brings up.
What to Expect
In your first appointment a neurologist will most likely perform a physical examination as well as a neurological one. Neurological exams test reflexes, muscle strength, and coordination. Many different disorders have similar symptoms, so neurologists often must go deeper in the testing to make a proper diagnosis. One such procedure is a lumbar puncture. Lumbar punctures test spinal fluid. Any suspicion of a problem with your nervous system may require a lumbar puncture. To get a sample, neurologists will insert a needle into the spine. Neurologists may also put you through what is known as a Tensilon test, which can reveal if you have myasthenia gravis. You are injected with the medicine Tensilon, and then observed to see if it affects you. Finally, there is an electroencephalogram or EEG. The neurologist will attach electrodes to your scalp and measure the electrical activity of the brain.