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Neurology is the branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis and treatments of disorders of the nervous system. Doctors who specialize in neurology are called neurologists.
If you experience symptoms that might be neurological, your GP may refer you to a neurologist for you to attend a neurology consultation. These symptoms may include:
Chronic pain, including pain with numbness or weakness
Prolonged tingling or numbness on one side of your body
Problems when walking
Intense muscle weakness
Certain vision problems
A neurologist can help find the cause of the symptoms and diagnose any neurological disease you may have. The goals of neurology consultation are as follows:
Create an investigation plan to determine the diagnosis, stage, and prognosis of any neurological disease as accurately as possible
Create a follow-up plan and therapy for patients who has a nervous system disease
Identify those at risk for neurological disease and create a preventative plan to minimize the risk of the disease from developing, or, when possible, prevent the disease from developing altogether.
Identify non-neurological diseases that have an influence on the nervous system.
During a neurology consultation, your neurologist will review your medical history and ask you questions. They will want to know about the symptoms you are currently experiencing, the medications you are taking, and the medications you have already taken due to the same complaints, your previous illnesses, your allergies, and the information on your family history of similar symptoms. They will ask you about past hospitalizations and surgical treatments as well.
If you have had any exams related to the issues you are complaining about or previous exams of your nervous system make sure to bring them with you on your neurology consultation. If your complaints are changes in personality or behaviors, memory problems, difficulty thinking or speaking, or episodes in which you lose the notion of what is going on, you need to be accompanied by someone who can tell your neurologist accurate details.
After your neurologist collects all the information you provide, they will perform a neurological examination. This is done to evaluate the various neurological functions, particularly:
Sensation (your ability to feel things)
The neurological examination that your neurologist performs may be more or less detailed in any of these aspects depending on your complaints and the specific symptoms you are experiencing.
Your neurologist may have a good idea of your diagnosis from the neurological exam. However, they will probably order other tests to confirm it. Depending on your symptoms, the diagnostic tests may include:
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to diagnose traumatic brain injury, stroke, infection, vascular irregularities, brain, and spinal cord tumors, as well as some neurodegenerative disorders. This test uses magnetic fields and radio waves to obtain pictures of your inner brain.
Computerized Tomography (CT) scan or Computer-Assisted Tomography (CAT) scan to detect bone and vascular irregularities, epilepsy, certain brain tumors and cysts, encephalitis, brain damage from a head injury, and other disorders.
Electroencephalogram (EEG) to detect abnormalities in the electrical activity of your brain or in your brain waves. It is used to help diagnose conditions such as epilepsy, seizures, dizziness, sleeping problems, brain tumors, and head injury. During the procedure, electrodes are put on your scalp to record your brain’s electrical activity.
Blood and urine tests to look for toxins, protein disorders, or infection.
Electromyogram (EMG) to test the communication between a nerve and the muscle it works to help find the cause of numbness, weakness, and pain. It involves inserting small needles into your muscles.
Spinal tap or lumbar puncture to look for infection, bleeding, or other disorders. It involves removing a small amount of fluid from your spine.
Nerve or muscle biopsy to look for signs of neuromuscular disorders.
After all of the necessary information has been collected, your neurologist will let you know your diagnosis. They may be able to propose the treatment plan straight away, such as a therapy (medication and/or rehabilitation) or the need for intervention. If intervention is needed for your condition, they will refer you to another specialty, either neurosurgery or neuroradiology.
You can leave the hospital right away after your neurology consultation if nothing serious that requires hospitalization is found. In this case, you may be able to leave Heidelberg any time you wish. However, if you undergo diagnostic tests, you may need to stay for at least a week to wait for the results. Once the results are ready, you will have to attend a follow-up appointment to discuss them.
Again, unless something serious is found during your neurology consultation or you experience symptoms that interfere with your ability to perform your daily activities, you should be able to resume your normal routine immediately after your consultation. However, if a test is performed during the consultation, it is a good idea to rest for the remainder of the day.
If your neurologist prescribes medications for you, make sure to take them as directed. Once you receive treatments, you may need to attend regular checkups to see how you are responding to the treatments.
Neurology consultation has a high success rate in finding the cause of your symptoms. It can help diagnose neurological disorders early on, allowing you to get treatment as soon as possible so your survival rate is higher.
Neurology consultation carries no risks and side effects. However, the tests and treatments you will have during or after the consultation do pose some risks. Your neurologist will explain the risks and side effects in detail for you.
If you have any problems with your nervous system or you experience symptoms that might be neurological, there is no other option than attending a neurologist consultation.
Before neurology consultation, you may experience neurological symptoms. After your consultation, you will be informed about your exact condition. You can then discuss the treatment or management plan with your neurologist based on the diagnosis.
Whilst the information presented here has been accurately sourced and verified by a medical professional for its accuracy, it is still advised to consult with your doctor before pursuing a medical treatment at one of the listed medical providers. This content was last updated on 13/09/2020.