Primary care physicians treat a wide variety of health conditions, from illnesses such as the flu to chronic conditions such as heart disease. However, certain conditions require specialized treatment and care. This is especially true for conditions of the nervous system such as multiple sclerosis, seizures, stroke, Parkinson’s, and migraines.
If you suffer from such conditions, your primary care doctor will likely refer you to a neurologist. This type of medical specialist will assess your symptoms, make a diagnosis, and manage your treatment.
This is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating brain, nervous system, and muscle conditions. If your primary care physician thinks you have a condition that needs specialized care, he or she might refer you to a neurologist.
To become a neurologist, you need a college degree and four years of medical school. You also need to undergo one year of internship and about three years of special neurology training. Many neurologists also spend more time learning about specific fields, such as pain management or movement disorders.
If you have unexplained symptoms your doctor believes relate to your nervous system or brain, he or she will likely recommend a neurological exam. This type of exam will help localize and differentiate the causes of your symptoms. Some of the most common reasons patients visit neurologists include:
Severe or chronic headaches
Tingling or numbness
Confusion or memory problems
The nervous system consists of two main parts. One is the central nervous system, also known as CNS. It consists of the brain and spinal cord. The other type of nervous system is peripheral. It consists of the nerves located outside the CNS.
You should consult a neurologist if you are suffering from organic conditions of the brain, nervous system, spinal cord, or muscles. Neurologists help patients with chronic neurological conditions. They treat the person as a whole.
Due to the complexity of the nervous system, neurologists often focus on diagnosing specific neurological conditions. Others focus on treating certain patient populations. This is why they spend one or more years in a fellowship program after completing their residency. The purpose of the fellowship program is to gain experience in a specific subspecialty.
Common subspecialties within this field of medical science include:
Brain injury medicine
Child or pediatric neurology
Hospice care neurology
Vascular neurology, and more
As stated earlier, neurologist treat conditions that affect the brain, nervous system, and muscles. Some of these conditions include epilepsy, stroke, brain aneurysms, brain tumors, migraines and headaches, and sleep disorders. They also treat nervous system infections, neuromuscular diseases, peripheral neuropathy, and more.
Your primary care physician will recommend the best time to see a neurologist after assessing your symptoms. However, if you require surgery, your primary care doctor or neurologist will refer you to a neurosurgeon. This is because neurologists do not perform surgical procedures.
To learn why you may need to see a neurologist, schedule an appointment with Bagnell Brain Center at our office in Pinecrest, Florida by calling (305) 889-7488 today.