When you breathe, think, laugh or lift your finger, your brain and nerves are communicating through electrical impulses transmitted by nerve cells. Neurology involves your entire nervous system – the internal wiring that controls your body’s function and movement. When an illness or injury disrupts the proper working of this complex system, chances are you’ll need to see a neurologist.
What is a neurologist?
Neurologists are physicians who diagnose and treat disorders of the brain, spinal cord and nervous system. Many focus on specific conditions, such as multiple sclerosis or stroke. Pediatric neurologists specialize in children’s neurological disorders. A neurologist does not perform surgery, but works closely with your primary care doctor and a surgeon, if needed, to guide you through your treatment.
If you’ve experienced any of the following symptoms, talk to your doctor:
- Unexplained headaches
- Persistent back and neck pain
- Memory loss
- Muscle weakness, numbness or tingling
Find a general neurologist in our physician directory.
What neurologists treat
Providence neurologists treat the following conditions and diseases, among others:
What to expect when you see a neurologist
- Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias
- Brain tumors and disorders
- Parkinson’s disease and movement disorders
- Multiple sclerosis
- Head, neck and muscle pain
- Brain and spinal cord injuries
- Children’s neurological disorders
- Peripheral nerve disorders
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease
Your neurologist will perform a neurological assessment, which may include a physical exam to test whether your symptoms are related to a brain or nerve disorder. A typical physical exam will look at your behavioral or mental status; head and neck; cranial nerves; motor function; reflexes; coordination and gait; and sensory function. As needed, your neurologist will recommend further testing, such as a CT scan or MRI scan, to confirm a diagnosis.