By Peter Pressman, M.D., About.com Guide
When most people imagine a seizure, someone shaking their entire body, foaming at the mouth, and losing consciousness. While some seizures do look like this, they can appear in subtler ways as well. If someone has a seizure without any obvious cause, a neurologist may be needed. If someone has more than one unprovoked seizure, this is sufficient for a diagnosis of epilepsy, in which case a patient may be need to be followed by a neurologist for a prolonged time.
Many people have pain in their lower back or neck. While this kind of pain can often be managed by a primary care physician, sometimes a neurologist will become involved, especially if this pain is associated with other neurological problems like weakness, numbness, or problems with bladder or bowel control.
- Signs and Symptoms of Back and Neck Pain
- The About Guide Site to Back and Neck Pain
- What is Chronic Pain?
- Treating Chronic Pain
Numbness and Tingling
Numbness and tingling can be caused by many medical problems. Numbness and tingling is most concerning when it comes on quickly, only affects one side of the body, or is associated with weakness. These may be signs of something as serious as a stroke or multiple sclerosis, requiring urgent evaluation. If the numbness is in all fingers and toes and persists or gets worse, it may be due to peripheral nerve disease. If you have any doubts, contact your physician to see what further evaluation is needed.
- Numbness and Tingling: Finding the Cause
- Symptoms of a Stroke
- About Multiple Sclerosis Guide Site
- Guide to Peripheral Neuropathy
Almost everyone suffers from headaches at some point, usually due to tension or perhaps a mild illness like a cold. On the other hand, some people suffer from more severe headaches like frequent migraines. In rare cases, the headache may be caused by something serious, like bleeding into the brain or increased pressure in the skull. Patients with severe or life threatening headaches may need to be managed by a neurologist.
- What is a Headache?
- About Headaches Guide Site
- Could You Have Post-Concussive Syndrome?
- Symptoms of Mild TBI
People mean many different things when they say they're dizzy, and different kinds of dizziness require different kinds of doctors. Neurologists commonly see patients with vertigo and disequilibrium. Vertigo involves a sense of the world spinning, as if you were on a merry-go-round. Disequilibrium means a lack of coordination or balance. These feelings have various causes, some more serious than others.
Problems with Movement
Problems with movement include clumsiness, tremor, rigidity, unintentional movements, or difficulty walking. Almost all of us have barely noticeable tremor, which may be worsened if you have too much coffee or if you're anxious. If tremor interferes with daily life, a neurologist may be needed. Tremor does not automatically mean that you have Parkinson's disease-many other things can cause tremor, including smoking and some medications.
- Early Parkinson's Disease Signs and Symptoms
- What is Apraxia?
- Motor Neuron Disease
- Types of Tremor
- What is Causing Your Tremor?
Weakness usually affects some muscle groups, and means that no matter how hard you try, you cannot do what you normally would. It is important to distinguish weakness from generalized fatigue, because while fatigue can be caused by benign problems like sleep loss or a mild illness, weakness can signify something more important, such as stroke or neuromuscular disease. Like numbness, weakness is especially concerning if it comes on suddenly or just affects one side of the body. This may be a sign of a stroke or other serious problem, and requires immediate attention.
Gradual vision loss associated with aging is best managed by an eye doctor. Sudden vision loss, on the other hand, can be caused either by a problem with the eye or a problem with the nervous system, and requires immediate medical attention. A new case of seeing double should also be evaluated as soon as possible.
Difficulty thinking can mean a number of different things, including difficulty finding words or speaking, problems with memory, change in personality, or confusion, in which case a neurologist can be helpful. In children, some learning disabilities also require evaluation by a neurologist.
- Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease
- Top 8 Tips to Recognizing Early Signs of Learning Disabilities
- What is a Coma?
Sleep disorders are very common, and many different types of physicians see patients with these disorders. Common sleep problems include lack of sleep, abnormal movements during sleep, or parasomnias such as sleep walking.