What is Neurology?

Neurology is the branch of medicine which specializes in 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 must graduate 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 issues and 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
  • Stroke
  • 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.

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