What is a Neurologist?

A neurologist is a specialist who treats diseases of the brain and spinal cord (the central nervous system), peripheral nerves (nerves connecting the brain and spine to the organs, like the lungs or liver), and muscles.

During your visit, Dr. Pappas will first gather a very thorough history of your symptoms, prior treatments and testing, and of your general health. He will then perform a complete neurological examination. Tests may be ordered as part of the evaluation Dr. Pappas employs to diagnose your neurological condition. Neurological diseases can include headaches, epilepsy and movement disorders such as tremors or Parkinson's disease.

Top 10 reasons you may want to see a neurologist:

  1. Headaches
    Headaches are something we all experience. We can feel them stretching into our sinuses, across the top of our head, down through the muscles of the head, neck, and shoulders or along the base of the skull and brain. Headaches may be caused by a variety of conditions both benign and life threatening. They may be associated with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, visual disturbances or even seizures. An experienced neurologist will rapidly determine the cause of your headache and recommend effective treatment. 
  2. Chronic Pain
    Chronic pain is pain that lasts for months or even years. The pain can be the result of illness or injury, but when it lasts longer than the usual recovery time, it can become a symptom of a different problem. You may choose to see a neurologist, especially if you have other symptoms along with the pain such as weakness, numbness, or problems with bladder or bowel control.
  3. Dizziness
    "Dizziness" may be described as vertigo or a sensation of spinning, disequilibrium or difficulty maintaining one's balance or as a feeling of lightheadedness. A neurologist is trained to diagnose and treat the causes of dizziness.
  4. Numbness or Tingling
    Numbness or tingling can happen for many different reasons, such as sitting in a way that cuts off your blood circulation or having not eaten. However, if this numbness continues, comes on suddenly, or only happens on one side of the body, it may be time to see a neurologist. Numbness or tingling symptoms like those described can also be signs of a stroke, in which case you need to get help very quickly.
  5. Weakness
    Feelings of weakness that you should see a doctor for are different than tiredness or muscle aches after a long hike or lifting too many weights. If you feel as if it  takes extra effort to move your arms and legs, this may be a symptom caused by a more serious condition or disease of your nervous system, such as muscle disease or stroke.
  6. Movement Problems
    Problems moving, like difficulty walking, being clumsy, unintentional jerks or movements, tremors, or others, can be symptoms of a problem in  your nervous system. You may want to see a neurologist if these movement problems interrupt your daily life. Muscle rigidity with slowness of movement and tremor may represent early Parkinson's requiring treatment by a neurologist.
  7. Seizures
    Seizures can be almost unnoticeable or very extreme. Symptoms of seizures can include staring, loss of consciousness, jerking movements of the arms and legs, confusion or breathing problems. Seizures may be caused by low blood sugar, withdrawal from various drugs, genetic disorders or structural changes in the brain, all of which require a thorough neurological evaluation.
  8. Vision Problems
    Difficulty with vision can be caused by aging or problems in the nervous system. Sudden blindness in one eye, double vision, eye pain or drooping eyelids are other reasons to visit a neurologist.
  9. Memory Problems or Confusion
    Problems speaking, extreme problems with memory, changes in personality, or confusion are all symptoms that could be caused by disorders or problems in the nervous system. Some of these symptoms may be due to learning disabilities or may be caused by diseases such as Alzheimer's.
  10. Sleep Problems
    Problems falling asleep, staying asleep, nightmares and feeling tired during the day may be a result from neurological or non-neurological causes. Sleep apnea, narcolepsy and side effects from medications will be considered by your neurologist.