Here’s the thing: according to the American Academy of Neurology, there’s predicted to be at more than 18,000 neurologists in the U.S. by 2025.
Don’t know when you should see neurologist professionals? Think about it this way – neurological damage from a work injury can be extremely
What Does a Neurologist Do?
that neurologist is a doctor, but maybe you didn’t know that they specialize in treating the brain and the nervous system.
Even though they don’t perform any surgical procedures, they can recommend you to someone who can, depending on what your neurological problem is.
On top of that, you can guarantee that your neurologist has studied at least four years of undergraduate college and four years of medical school. As if that’s not enough, most neurologists spend at least one year doing an internship and three years doing some kind of special neurological training.
Bonus points if you choose a doctor that focuses on pain management or movement disorders to treat your work-related injury. Now that we’ve got that covered, we’ll show you what kinds of conditions can we treated by a neurologist:
- Uncontrollable movements or tremors
- Pinched nerves
- Nerve diseases like peripheral neuropathy
But wait– there’s more. For example, if you suffer from any of the following injuries at work, then you might want to dial a neurologist office immediately:
- Back pain
- Spinal cord injury
- Brain injury
So, when you visit your neurologist for the first time, you might be curious about what to expect. First things first, chances are that your new neurologist will ask you a couple of questions about your symptoms and your family’s medical history. Also, you’re probably be asked to take a physical to take a look at your nerves and brain as well.
Then, the neurologist will usually check out your reflexes, coordination, and strength. Not to mention your mental status, speech, and vision. Plus, your ability to feel sensations will be analyzed too!
What You Should Know About Diagnostic Tests
Since we’ve already covered the neurologist definition, let us explain what diagnostic tests you should prepare for. In essence, diagnostic tests are much more simple than you’d think, involving a neurologist performing a series of exams on your body.
Despite the fact that your neurologist may already know what’s wrong with you before these tests, it helps to have scientific confirmation. And while you may not go through all of these tests, don’t be surprised if you have to undergo at least a few of the following exams:
- Urine and blood test to search for toxins, infection, and protein issues
- X-ray tests of your spine or brain to search for brain damage or tumors
- A brain scan nicknamed in an EEG, or an electroencephalograph
- A muscle and nerve test nicknamed an EMG, or an electromyogram
- Flashlight and sounds test to see how well your brain is functioning
Not only that, but other diagnostic tests performed by a neurologist include something called a lumbar puncture or spinal tap. In case you didn’t know, this involves taking a tiny fluid sample from your spine to search for infection or blood.
Lastly, a nerve or muscle biopsy could also be taken to seek out any red flags for neuromuscular conditions. To do this, a small tissue sample is scoped out under your neurologist’s microscopic lens.
1. You Have Trouble Keeping Your Balance
For those of you who are sick and tired of feeling the phrase “why see neurologist,” then one the first signs that you should look for is when you have trouble keeping your balance.
Let’s face it: Whether it’s slipping on the wet floor or skipping a stair, everyday falls and tumbles are considered to be totally normal. That means that you should run off to the doctor every time a “Wet Floor” sign is out at work. But here’s the thing.
If you start to notice that feelings of faintness, spinning, or dizziness are becoming a regular routine, then you might want to head to the neurologist right away. Our general rule of thumb is to visit the neurologist office whenever you start to lose balance or fall out of nowhere on a regular basis.
Incredibly enough, millions of Americans suffer from “balance disorders” every single year. And if you’re on the older side of the spectrum, you’ll probably be struggling with your equilibrium skills much more than others. Throw a busy work environment into and you’ve got a work-related accident waiting to happen.
We can’t emphasize this enough – anytime you’re feeling dizzy and experiencing severe numbness and headaches on the job, you have to let your supervisor know right away. That’s because the worst-case scenario is that you could be suffering a stroke!
2. You Have Severe and Sudden Headaches
If you’ve recently suffered from a work injury, then having pounding headaches afterward could be a direct result of your experience. Commonly caused by hormone imbalances, caffeine, allergies, or stress, headaches are very common and almost everyone has had one at some point.
On the other hand, migraines are much less common, only impacting a very small percentage of the population. However, the side effects of migraines are way more severe than headaches are, including things like light sensitivity, nausea, and vomiting.
While an everyday headache isn’t a reason the rush to the emergency room, intense migraines that occur right after you’ve had a work injury are not to be taken lightly. That’s because it could be a red flag for a major neurological issue.
Whenever extreme migraines are coupled with other symptoms like loss of vision and weakness, you might want to skip the neurologist office and head straight to the emergency room right away. Unfortunately, this could be a sign of meningitis, brain tumor, concussion, stroke, or worse.
3. Your Vision Has Significantly Changed
For those of you who work on job sites where you’re exposed to dangerous equipment, getting a small piece of material in your eye happens much more often than you’d think. But if you ever noticed that your vision has significantly changed after an incident has happened at work, then it could be a symptom of a more serious condition.
For example, while it’s common for older folks to suffer from macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts, any sudden changes in your vision while you’re still on the younger side of the spectrum could be a flag of a neurological problem such as a stroke. In case you’re curious, strokes happen when your brain’s blood flow is shut off, causing double or blurred vision.
In addition, significant vision changes could be a result of multiple sclerosis, which is a disorder of your nervous system. Or even worse, it could be pointing to a brain tumor.
The point is, things like loss of sight and double vision in your eyes is definitely a reason to call your neurologist. And if they’re busy, don’t hesitate to go to the emergency room!
4. You’re Way More Confused Than Before
Whether you’re dealing with a brain injury or a whiplash injury, feeling a lot more puzzled than you did before you experience work-related injury is a huge sign that you should consult a neurologist. Admit it: forgetting where you placed your car keys or your reading glasses is 100 percent normal.
In fact, sometimes forgetfulness can simply be blamed on a lack of sleep, stress, or medication. In spite of this, constant trouble thinking, memory loss, or confusion after you got into a bad accident at work is a signal of a big health issue.
For starters, everything that we’ve mentioned is a clear sign of memory disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. And yes, that means that your memory, social abilities, and thinking will all be negatively impacted. Plus, sudden onsets of confusion might point to delirium too, particularly when combined with changes in mood, alertness, and sleep patterns.
Although these symptoms could disappear after a few days, it helps to see a neurologist for a diagnosis just in case. Another word of advice is to see a neurologist when you’re experiencing memory loss and confusion because it could indicate a brain tumor, stroke, or seizure.
5. You’re Having a Hard Time Falling Asleep
You know the feeling: Anxiety, poor sleep schedules, and sleep apnea could be responsible for your hard time falling asleep at night. But if you’re having trouble catching some Z’s and experiencing restless leg syndrome and drowsiness at the same, then we highly recommend that you see your neurologist as soon as possible.
That’s because a serious neurological disorder could be behind all the symptoms that you’re feeling, particularly if it occurs after a work-related incident. For instance, narcolepsy is a major nervous system problem that results in sudden drowsiness during the day. In addition, having difficulty functioning at the office or staying awake for the workday can be extremely difficult for people with narcolepsy as well.
Despite this fact, those with narcolepsy can’t fall asleep at night either. That being said, restless legs syndrome is another sign of a neurological disorder. With restless leg disorder, tapping and moving your legs while you’re trying to sleep is an automatic reflex. For the uninitiated, the symptoms of restless leg disorder get worse when you sit or lay down for a long time.
Bottom line: if you’re experiencing anything like what we’ve mentioned before after a work-place related injury, then seeing your neurologist about it should be a no-brainer (see what we did there?)
Health Benefits of Seeing a Neurologist
From struggling to keep your balance to endless migraines after work-related injuries, there are numerous health benefits of seeing a neurologist, including:
- Disease management
- Pain relief
- Illness prevention
- Second opinion
When it comes to disease management, neurologists are some of the highest trained doctors in autoimmune and chronic conditions such as sleep disorders, multiple sclerosis, and dementia. Additionally, working with a neurologist to help you heal from your work-related injury will also ease your pain and increase your overall “quality of life.”
And if you suffer from epilepsy or peripheral nerve disease, talking to a neurologist about your issues is one of the best things that you could possibly do for yourself. Besides this, neurologists are also masters at relieving pain for patients with body soreness, lower back pain, neck pain, or severe headaches.
Plus, there’s illness prevention. You should visit a neurologist if your work-related injury has got your primary care doctor stumped, particularly if you’re suffering from frequent or severe migraines. That’s because they’ll be able to help you avoid the symptoms and emergencies that could prevent you from attending work again.
In addition, your neurologist will be there for you to watch out for signs of physical, emotional, and mental problems as well. Of course, this will assist you with getting back on your feet and into the office in no time.
Everyone knows that seeking a second opinion is always a good idea, especially when your primary doctor doesn’t give you the right diagnosis. With a neurologist treating your seizures, vision, and Parkinson’s disease, recovery should be a breeze!
Know When to See a Neurologist
For those who still don’t know when to see a neurologist, we got your back. While it’s fairly common to have a slight mishap at work, you’ve got to see a neurologist whenever your vision changes significantly afterward as a result.
Not only this, but big red signs like increased brain fog and sudden insomnia are also major signals of a potential neurological disorder. If any of these symptoms sound familiar, then you might want to do yourself a favor and phone a neurologist as soon as you can. We promise you won’t regret it!
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