You may be wondering what the difference between a neurosurgeon and neurologist is. Both specialists focus on the nervous system of the human body. However, there are differences to know as well. We will look at both professions, so that you will have a better idea if you should find a neurosurgeon or a neurologist.
What Is a Neurologist?
Neurologists are doctors, but not surgeons, that treat diseases of the spine, brain, and nervous system. Neurologists are specialized doctors that have completed medical school and have taken a minimum of three years of residency in a neurological program. A neurologist can specialize further in the fields of pain management and epilepsy. Although neurologists are not neurosurgeons, they can refer patients to a neurosurgeon if surgery is the best course of treatment.
Medical Conditions Neurologists Work With
Whether a patient has dementia or Alzheimer’s disease or multiple sclerosis, consultation with a neurologist will give him or her answers. Neurologists also diagnose and work with patients who suffer from migraine headaches, have Parkinson’s disease or speech impediments. Nervous system, spinal cord and brain medical issues that do not need surgery are the focus of neurologists.
Do You Need To Find A Neurosurgeon?
Neurosurgeons are doctors who perform surgery for conditions of the nervous system, spinal cord and brain. You’ll most likely need to find a neurosurgeon if you have an anatomical issue affecting your nervous system.
Although neurosurgeons are doctors who perform surgery, they do more than operate on patients only. Neurosurgeons work to see if the patient can avoid surgery, if at all possible. Neurosurgeons diagnose, treat (surgically or otherwise), and rehabilitate patients with medical conditions affecting their nervous system.
Neurosurgeon doctors must complete at least one year of a surgical residency as well as an additional five years of residency as a neurosurgery specialist after completing medical school. Most neurosurgeons train an additional year in a neurosurgical fellowship, according to the American Board of Neurological Surgery. Neurosurgeons have successfully completed oral and written examinations as well as the many years of training that is required.
You May Need To Find A Neurosurgeon If You…
- Have a brain injury, such as a concussion
- Have had a stroke,
- Fluid on the brain,
- Or any other brain related malady
Neurosurgeons also treat spinal cord injuries, neck pain, hip pain and leg pain, such as sciatica, shoulder problems, arthritis, back pain from a pinched nerve, herniated disc or bulging discs and other forms of back pain. In fact, lower back pain is a leading cause of disability globally. Nerve pain can show up many places in the body, therefore, neurosurgeons are able to treat areas outside of the back, neck, and head.
Whether you need to find a neurosurgeon or a neurologist, either doctor can refer you to the medical specialist that is best suited to treat your specific medical condition.