Dealing with any kind of pain on a regular basis can have a huge impact on your quality of life. Whether you suffer from regular migraines or headaches, back pain, or knee pain, chances are likely that you’re not living life the way you used to before the pain started. On a global scale, over 1.5 billion people are suffering from chronic pain and almost 60% of those suffering from chronic pain say that it’s made a difference in how much they overall enjoy life. So what can you do about this type of pain? If you’re facing nerve pain, headaches, or back pain, you may want to go see a neurologist, who specializes in conditions affecting the nervous system. They’re more specialized than your regular doctor, and can do a lot in figuring out what might be causing your pain, and working to help fix it.
What Is Neurology and How Might Neurological Problems Be Affecting Me?
Neurology focuses on diagnosing and treating any diseases or disorders of the nerves and nervous systems. Obviously, this includes the brain, spine, and other nerves. A neurologist might aid with conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, which both fall under neurology. Neurologists can also help treat patients who have had a stroke, those suffering from epilepsy, sleep disorders, brain or spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, and migraines.
Any neurological problem is going to affect your quality of life in a negative way. A neurologist can figure out how to either make your disease or disorder more bearable — in the case of terminal illnesses like Alzheimer’s — or help diagnose the issue and start investigating treatments for issues like migraines or sleep disorders.
When Should I Go See a Neurologist?
Regular, severe headaches and chronic pain are always a good reason to ask for a referral to a neurologist. Migraines are the third most common malady in the world, with about one in seven people suffering from them. If you notice recurring dizziness or a sudden numbness or tingling, you should definitely head to your primary care doctor and get a referral, or head to the emergency room. The numbness and tingling is especially concerning if it comes on fast, you also feel weakness in that part of your body, and/or if it only happens on one side of your body. This can often be a sign of a stroke, so it’s important to act quickly.
Any issues with movement or vision can also often fall under the spectrum of neurology and what a neurologist can diagnose. Seizures and problems thinking or remembering are also signs that a neurologist might be needed, as these directly affect the nervous system and/or your brain. These symptoms are all also indicative that you may have a much larger health problem on your hands, so you absolutely should not delay in getting emergency care or seeing a health professional immediately.
What Pain Management Solutions Can I Seek?
If you suffer from chronic pain or are recovering from a brain or spinal injury, you may be prescribed medication to help alleviate your pain. A physical therapy regimen is also often recommended (sometimes in tandem with pain medication), as it can also help improve your range of motion or re-teach you how to walk and move in the way you were used to. Physical therapy can also help gently stretch muscles and keep them limber as you recover.
Although it sounds strange, another pain management solution may also simply be surgery. Knee surgery, hip surgery, or removing a brain tumor can be a quick way to relieve the cause of your pain. You’ll certainly have a recovery period after the surgery occurs, but the hope is always that you’ll be pain free after the surgery is completed and you’ve healed.
If you’re experiencing any severe health symptoms, don’t wait it out and hope that they’ll simply go away. Do what’s best for your health and your body by getting them checked out now. It can improve your quality of life — and may even save your life.