What is a neurologist?
Neurologists diagnose, treat, and manage disorders related to the brain and central nervous system.
Neurologists can perform the following procedures:
- electromyography (EMG)
- electroencephalogram (EEG)
- computed tomography (CT scan)
- magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scan)
- positron emission tomography (PET scan)
- lumbar puncture
- sleep studies
- skin biopsy
- botulinum toxin injections
- trigger point injections
This is not an exhaustive list. Contact your local neurologist for a full list of procedures they can perform. Keep in mind that most neurologists don't do surgery — this is usually done by neurosurgeons.
Neurologists treat the following conditions:
- general headaches
- cluster headaches
- seizure disorders, such as epilepsy
- multiple sclerosis (MS)
- neuromuscular disorders, such as myasthenia gravis
- nervous system infections, such as encephalitis, meningitis, or brain abscesses
- brain diseases (neurodegenerative disorders), such as Lou Gehrig’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease
- disorders of the spinal cord, such as inflammatory and autoimmune disorders
Some neurologists may specialize in other areas, too, in addition to what's on this list. Get in touch with your local neurologist to learn more about the full range of conditions they may be able to treat.
Neurologists may specialize in these areas:
- diagnosis and treatment of headaches
- diagnosis, treatment, and management of epilepsy
- diagnosis and treatment of brain, nervous system, and muscular conditions (neuromuscular medicine)
- emergency or critical care for the brain and nervous system (neurocritical care)
- diagnosis and treatment of brain and nervous system cancers (neuro-oncology)
- treatment of brain and nervous system for children (pediatric neurology)
- treatment of brain and nervous system treatment for older adults (geriatric neurology), especially for conditions like Alzheimer’s
- conditions that affect your autonomic nervous system, which controls your heart rate, body temperature, breathing, and more
- treatment or care of people who have strokes or other conditions that affect blood vessels in your brain (vascular care)
- imaging tests for brain and nervous system conditions (neuroradiology)
Top questions to ask a neurologist during your appointment that you may have not thought of:
- Do you think that my symptoms may mean I have an underlying condition? What should my next steps be?
- Are there any tests you recommend to help diagnose my condition or to verify that I don't have a condition? What reasons do you have for suggesting these tests?
- Are there any possible complications of imaging tests like CT scans or MRIs? How can I prevent any of these complications, if any?
- How can I interpret the results of my MRI or CT scan?
- Can I still have an MRI if I'm not a fan of enclosed spaces?
- Will my condition or treatment affect my lifestyle, work, or life?
- Is my condition caused by my genetics, or are there lifestyle choices I'm making that could be exacerbating it?
- Are there any lifestyle changes I can make to reduce my symptoms or the severity of my condition?
- What can I expect from my condition in the short term and long term?
- What treatments are available for my condition? Are there any side effects of the condition that can affect my lifestyle?
- Can I expect any changes to my quality of life because of my condition in the short term or long term?
- Are there any restrictions on my activities due to my condition or things I should avoid that will make my condition worse?
- Will I need anyone to help with my daily tasks because of my condition in the short term or long term?
- Will I need live-in assistance or nursing assistance at a facility in the short term or long term?