Treating the Brain, Spinal Cord and Nerves
Manatee Physician Alliance neurologists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses and diseases involving the central nervous system. The nervous system is made up of the brain, spinal cord and nerves.
Neurologists treat and care for cranial, peripheral, autonomic and optic nerves. Cranial nerves support sensory feeling in the eyes, face, ears, nose and throat. Peripheral and autonomic nerves control involuntary bodily movements as well as muscle movements. Optic nerves carry messages from the eyes to your brain.
Neurological doctors often work closely with other medical specialists like neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists and rehabilitation specialists to provide comprehensive neurology services. This collaboration allows for individualized care for neurological disorders impacting different parts of the body.
Neurological Conditions Treated
Our neurology physician team uses advanced, minimally invasive technology to diagnose and treat a wide range of neurologic conditions, including:
A stroke is caused by a disruption of blood supply in the brain. The two types of acute stroke are ischemic and hemorrhagic.
An ischemic stroke is caused by a blocked artery. An artery can be blocked by a clot or plaque buildup. When the flow of blood to the brain is interrupted, the brain does not receive the oxygen it needs from the blood.
A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when an artery in the brain ruptures and bleeds. The blood puts pressure on the brain cells, causing them damage.
Stroke symptoms include sudden onset of:
- Numbness or weakness of the extremities
- Trouble speaking
- Trouble seeing
- Severe headache
If you experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate emergency help. Strokes are very dangerous and fatal if not immediately treated.
Headache pain is triggered by the interaction of signals in the brain, blood vessels and nerves. Nerves in the blood vessels and head muscles activate and send pain signals to the brain.
There are over 150 types of headaches that can be caused by a multitude of reasons. Primary headaches are triggered by a specific situation such as:
- Lack of sleep
- Common cold
Secondary headaches are much more intense and painful. They are a sign or symptom of an underlying medical condition.
For example, a spinal headache can result from a spinal tap. During a spinal tap, a doctor withdraws cerebrospinal fluid by inserting a needle in the spinal canal. The spinal fluid can leak from the hole after the procedure and lead to an intense headache.
Dementia and Memory Disorders
Memory disorders are caused by damage to the areas of the brain that store and retain memories and information. For example, dementia is caused by damage and loss of nerve cells and nerve cell connections in the brain.
Common memory disorder symptoms include:
- Difficulty or inability to communicate
- Difficulty or inability to learn new things
- Memory loss
Parkinson’s Disease and Other Movement Disorders
Movement disorders are neurological conditions. They can be caused by different things including genetics, infections or damage to the central nervous system.
For example, Parkinson’s disease is caused by genetic and environmental factors. The dopamine creating brain cells in people with Parkinson’s disease begin to die. Nerve cells in the brain need and use dopamine. These cells are in the part of the brain that controls movement.
Common movement disorder symptoms include:
- Tremor in hands, arms, legs, jaw, or head
- Sudden or repetitive twitching, movement, tics
- Muscle stiffness and loss of muscle strength
- Slowness of movement
- Impaired balance and coordination
- Loss of muscle strength
Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders
Seizures are caused by a temporary and excessive surge of electrical activity in the brain. Seizures can be categorized as provoked and unprovoked.
Provoked seizures occur by distinct triggers like head trauma, low blood sugar and high fever. Unprovoked seizures don’t have a specific trigger and are often a result of an underlying seizure disorder.
Seizures typically have a lead-up period called an “aura”. An aura can cause sensory symptoms such as sensitivity to light and sounds. It can also cause emotional changes such as sudden anxiety or excitement. This is followed by a general seizure.
There are different types of general seizures: tonic-clonic, tonic, clonic, myoclonic, absence and atonic seizures. Different seizures have different symptoms but common symptoms include:
- Contraction of muscles
- Loss of consciousness
- Repetitive contraction and extension of limbs
- Shaking or convulsion of the limbs
Multiple Sclerosis and Inflammatory Diseases
Inflammation is a natural response to injuries, infections or other conditions. The reaction of redness and heat is your body’s immune system attacking the foreign body or bacteria. Inflammatory cells also heal damaged tissue.
Inflammatory diseases occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own healthy cells and tissues. This causes inflammation.
For example, multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease. It is a chronic condition that impacts the central nervous system. Common symptoms include:
- Muscle weakness
- Numbness and tingling in the face, body and limbs
- Blurred vision
- Trouble with balance and walking
Neuropathy and Muscle Diseases
Muscle diseases, often called neuromuscular diseases, impact the nerves that help the brain control muscle movement. For example neuropathy is when there has been damage to the nerves outside the brain and in the spinal cord.
Common muscle disease symptoms include:
- Muscle weakness and pain
- Loss of muscle control
- Limb twitching, tingling and numbness