7 Signs It’s Time to See A Neurologist
It’s not surprising to see how some severe disorders like prolonged headaches, vision problems, memory issues, or recurrent pain in different parts of the body, are mistaken by general physicians for common illnesses. Many patients then undergo long medication courses to see no improvement or, sometimes, even worsening of these conditions which impact their everyday activities.
When these problems are related to the nervous system processes (the peripheral and central nervous system, spinal cord, and brain); a neurologist must be your go-to physician. Neurologists use non-surgical methods such as medications, nerve blocks, and physical therapy. They are also experts at determining when surgery is needed.
SEVEN CRITICAL SIGNS TO CONSIDER SEEING A NEUROLOGIST
If you feel unbearable pain but are unsure about seeing a neurologist, here are some important symptoms to look out for.
- Chronic or severe headaches – Severe headaches that last for long periods of time may require treatment by a neurologist. Some common types of chronic headaches are – chronic migraines, chronic tension headaches, chronic post-traumatic headaches, & hemicrania continua (constant pain on one side of the face and/or head).
- Chronic pain – Chronic pain in your spine, back, and neck that continues for more than 3 months is likely a neurological disorder. This pain may be a result of an illness or injury, (and sometimes even surgery). It can also be accompanied by symptoms like weakness, numbness, or problems related to bladder or bowel control.
- Dizziness – Vertigo (dizziness) or disequilibrium (difficulty keeping your balance) are indicative of inner ear conditions like acoustic neuroma (tumor of the nerve connecting the ear to the brain), benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (deposits of calcium in the inner ear), cochlear hydrops, Meniere’s disease or vestibular neuronitis. A neurologist is specialized in treating these conditions.
- Numbness or Tingling – Persistent numbness and tingling may be an indication of a serious neurological condition like carpal tunnel syndrome (unusual pressure on a wrist nerve), migraines, strokes, etc.
- Seizure Disorders – Seizure disorders like epilepsy require a neurologist. These lead to uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain which is followed by unconsciousness and/or abnormal behavior and sensations. There are different types of seizures like generalized, partial/focal and unknown onset seizures with symptoms like – stiff muscles, shaking or jerking of the body, recurrent feeling of confusion, difficulty speaking, sudden crying or shouting, biting the tongue, involuntary rolling of eyes, uncontrolled urination & bowel movements, etc.
- Visual problems – Abnormal neurological processes can lead to visual problems like decreased vision, black spots in the front of the eye, abnormal dilation & contraction of the pupil, double vision, pain in the eyes, or other symptoms. These are better known as neuro-visual problems that can be thoroughly diagnosed by a neurologist. They may be categorized under optic neuropathies, optic neuritis, anisocoria, optic chiasm disorder, etc.
- Cognitive Problems & Sleep Disturbances – These include some memory and psychological problems like learning disabilities, frequently forgetting simple things (names, phone numbers, addresses), sudden personality changes, mixing up words, etc. A neurological disorder such as Alzheimer’s disease can be the cause of such conditions. In addition to this, sleep disorders like apnea (breathing problems during sleep), insomnia, waking up several times in the night, continuous nightmares and feeling anxious when trying to sleep – are usually identified as neurological illnesses.
Diagnosis & Treatment of Neurological Disorders at Advanced Pain Care
There are more than 600 types of neurological disorders, each with its own symptoms and treatments. To accurately determine the type and cause, Advanced Pain Care uses several tests and assessments. These include:
- Neurological Examination – This examines the sensory and motor skills and also determines the status of other vital body functions like balance & movement, speech, coordination, cognition, etc. It may include a comprehensive assessment of the autonomic nervous system as well. Our doctors also consider significant details like the patient’s medical history for providing safe and effective treatments & medications.
- Screening Tests – Imaging tests like X-rays, fluoroscopy, MRIs and CT scans are generally used for a detailed understanding of a patient’s condition. For detecting metabolic anomalies, toxins or infections in the body, routine blood & urine tests may also be conducted.
- Neuroradiology Procedures – Abnormalities in the brain like tumors, infections, degeneration, and so on, are diagnosed with highly sophisticated procedures – Positron Emission Tomography (PET), Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT), Magnetoencephalography (MEG), stereotactic radiosurgery, intraoperative MRI or functional MRI.
We manage and treat a wide range of chronic pain conditions associated with neurological disorders like:
- Spinal cord injury
- Alzheimer’s disease
Different procedures performed by our specialists include:
- Pain Management – For chronic pain, advanced devices like spinal cord stimulators, peripheral stimulators, intrathecal pain pumps, and deep brain stimulators are implanted by our spine neurosurgeons. Some neurosurgical methods like spinal fusion, discectomy, tumor resection, laminectomy, microvascular decompressions, foraminotomy, and syrinx drainage may be performed.
- Minimally Invasive Surgeries – Procedures include vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty, spinal fusions, anterior cervical discectomy, may also be used – depending on the condition.
To make medical services affordable for all, we are in-network with all major insurance carriers in the U.S. We also accept over 300 workers’ compensation insurances. Our highly-specialized team of neurologists and neurosurgeons provides the best neurological disorders treatment to help you live the life you deserve. We serve in 15 locations in Texas, with 9 in the Greater Austin Area, along with three surgical centers in Austin, Amarillo and Round Rock. For more information, call our central helpline number at – 512-244-4272.