Our world depends on the expertise of doctors. They take on years of schooling and then spend even more time in residency training to learn how to diagnose and treat illnesses.
Neurologists are no exception. When they’re not studying the brain from the outside or studying their patients’ medical histories, they’re usually up to date with all the latest research literature in their field of specialization. Unfortunately, that’s not always enough to treat a patient successfully.
Sometimes doctors need help from other medical professionals to ensure the best possible outcome for their patients. This is where neurology comes into play.
A neurologist might be considered the most “hard-core,” specialized doctor when treating neurological conditions. Specializing in the study and treatment of diseases that affect both the brain and spinal cord, these doctors (and sometimes even neurologists working together with other specialists) might be able to offer patients a great deal more support than any old family doctor could.
How a Neurologist Can Help
A neurologist’s role isn’t limited to epilepsy management, which epilepsy centers handle. Neurologists work with patients who suffer from a whole host of different conditions:
- Multiple Sclerosis: a chronic disease that’s caused by damage to myelin, the fatty substance which surrounds nerve cells
- Parkinson’s Disease: a disorder of the central nervous system; symptoms include tremors and loss of muscle control
- Dementia: a collection of symptoms that might include memory loss, impaired decision-making abilities, and changes in behavior or personality
- Migraines: a neurological condition that causes intense, debilitating pain
- Spinal Cord Injuries: a disorder that affects the body’s ability to send and receive signals from the brain
Other neurological conditions include headaches, some movement disorders, dystonia (a movement disorder), stroke, encephalitis (an inflammation of the brain), and Guillain-Barré Syndrome.
Neurologists as Part of a Medical Team
The treatments for these illnesses are often very different from the treatments prescribed for other conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes. Some of these could be treated only with medication; others might require surgery. In some cases, a neurologist will be needed periodically to monitor a patient’s progress as they recover from an illness or injury and prescribe any new medications needed.
In other cases, they might need to work together with other doctors or specialists. These collaborations are widespread among patients with more “invisible” illnesses that can be difficult for the average person to understand and diagnose (e.g., certain psychiatric conditions, chronic pain).
Understanding what’s going on with the patient is really important to offer up the best possible treatment plan.