What is Neurology?

Neurology is the medical discipline that treats disorders affecting the central nervous system, which includes both the brain and the spinal cord, the nerve roots that emerge from it, the peripheral nerves, the muscles and their connections to the nerve endings. Consequently, neurology covers a wide range of extremely diverse disorders, including:

  • Cerebrovascular disorders, such as strokes or TIA (transient ischaemic attack), cerebral venous thrombosis, cerebral haemorrhaging for any reason, carotid or vertebral dissections, amnesic ictus, etc.)

  • Multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases (Behçet’s Disease, for example)

  • Parkinson’s Disease and other syndromes commonly known as "extra-pyramidal" (i.e. multi-systemic atrophy, progressive supra-nuclear paralysis, Shy-Drager Syndrome, etc.) as well as abnormal movements (restless leg syndrome, periodic movement of the lower limbs, dyskinesia, dystonia, tremors, etc.)

  • Myasthenia and myasthenia gravis, whether generalised or in its more limited form (bulbar or palpebral, for example).

  • Headaches of the face, aching spine or aches of various origins (migraines, paroxysmal hemicrania, cluster-headache, vascular facial algia, mild headaches induced by exercise, ice-pick headaches, headaches in the cold, trigeminal neuralgia, neck pain, tension headaches, post-concussion syndrome, benign intracranial hypertension, hypotension of the LCR, etc.)

  • lumbosciatica due to discal herniation, sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome, meralgia paraesthetica, external popliteal sciatica, cervico-brachialgia, etc.

  • Epilepsy (primary or secondary, following a TIA or stroke, tumour or other event)

  • Cognitive disorders and other neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s Disease, frontal temporal dementia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, spinal-cerebellar degeneration, etc.) 

  • Infections or post-infectious diseases (meningitis, Lyme’s disease, shingles, syphilis, sarcoidosis, etc.)

  • Peripheral facial paralysis or Bell’s palsy (i.e. rapidly progressing paralysis of half the face)

  • Brain tumours

  • Muscular disorders, whether sporadic or genetic (myopathy, myositis ossificans, myotonia, etc.)

  • Guillain-Barré Syndrome and other disorders of the peripheral nervous system (CIDP, multiple mononeuritis, polyneuropathy, etc.)

  • Vertigo (in the context of a stroke, migraine, vertebro-basilar insufficiency, hyperventilation attack, etc.).

  • Visual disturbances (reduction in visual acuity in one or both eyes due to anon-ophthalmological condition, double vision, dyschromatopsia (colour blindness), oscillopsia, etc.

  • Syncope (fainting fits, in the context of vertebro-basilar insufficiency, severe stenosis, cervical osteophyte conflict, epilepsy, malformation of the occipito-cervical hinge, basilar migraine, etc.)

Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list but it provides a glimpse of the wide variety of disorders that a neurologist encounters in daily practice.