Neurology is the study of the nervous system of the human body. It comes from the Greek words “neuron” (nerves) and “logia” (study). Neurology covers everything about the brain, spinal cord, nerves and nerve muscles including their shape, form or structure, function, as well as the causes, manifestations and consequences of diseases affecting it.
While the nervous system controls behaviour and sensation, neurology necessarily involves other fields of medicine like psychiatry. Conditions such as depression, dementia, mood disorders displayed by Alzheimer’s patients, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are both psychiatric and neurological concerns. This overlapping nature of neurology may be a source of confusion to the ordinary person whether to consult a neurologist or a psychiatrist for any of these conditions.
Considering that the brain, spinal cord, and eyes form integral parts of the nervous system, a neurologist may work closely with other health professionals such as an ophthalmologist and orthopedist to treat certain conditions such as multiple sclerosis, migraine, epilepsy, Bell’s palsy, to name a few.
A neurologist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating disorders and diseases affecting the nervous system. If a neurologist suspects that you are suffering from a neurological disorder, he may ask you to undergo a series of tests to check how your nervous system is working. These tests may include:
1. Examination of your general appearance and vital signs
2. Mental status test to measure your ability to think properly
3. Cranial nerves test for vision, smell and facial muscle movement
4. Motor system test to assess muscle strength and tone
5. Sensory exam
6. Reflexes; and
7. Coordination and gait
While the symptoms of neurological disorders are numerous, the most common signs include poor memory, poor balance, headache, blackouts, dizziness, seizures, speech disorders, trouble swallowing, numbness or loss of sensation, spasms, tremors, and difficulty controlling urination.
A neurological disorder may be caused by an infection, lack of blood supply, and inflammation. It may also be cancer-related or degenerative. Neurologists treat disorders of the brain, spinal cord, and nerves, which include the following:
* muscle disorders and pain
* headache and facial pain
* epilepsy and dizzy turns
* brain and spinal cord tumours
* multiple sclerosis
* Parkinson’s disease
* sleep disorders
* muscular disease
While neurological disorders are usually treated with pharmaceutical drugs, natural therapy may be an alternative treatment or be used to complement your neurologist’s treatment plan. Some neurological cases are caused or aggravated by nutritional deficiencies. A naturopath may take the approach of proper nutrition, supplementation and natural methods to treat the cause of a neurological disease.
For example, studies show that low Vitamin-D intake increases the risk of developing Multiple Sclerosis. If detected at an early stage, therapeutic supplementation and other therapies may stop the progression of multiple sclerosis. Other conditions that may be treated with natural therapies include autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), migraine or headaches, vertigo or dizziness, sleep disorders and Parkinson’s disease.