Fancy medical terms like Neurology and Neurosurgery are often daunting. While doctors talking about your spine and brain can also seem like a life-ending conversation, it doesn’t have to be. The aim of this article is to give you a better understanding of the health of your central nervous system.
Neurology vs Neurosurgery
Neurology is a branch of medicine that deals with the study of the nervous system, its structure, functions, and disorders. The nervous system is a complex network of nerves, neurons, and cells that regulate various bodily functions, including movement, sensation, and cognition. Neurologists specialise in diagnosing and treating disorders of the nervous system, including neurological diseases and conditions.
One of the most complex and specialised areas of neurology is neurosurgery. Neurosurgery involves the surgical treatment of disorders of the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. Neurosurgeons are highly trained medical professionals who are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of a range of neurological conditions, from brain tumours to spinal cord injuries.
Signs of Neurological Disorders
When your nervous system has a glitch it causes you to have a neurological condition. In a medical sense, neurological disorders are disorders that affect the brain as well as the nerves found throughout the human body and the spinal cord. Structural, biochemical or electrical abnormalities in the brain, spinal cord or other nerves can result in a range of symptoms.
Signs you have a neurological disorder can vary according to the disorder. Some of the most common signs are,
- Difficulty speaking or slurred speech
- Difficulty walking
- Numbness or tingling
- Problems with balance
- Shaking or tremors
- Weakened facial, arm, and/or leg muscles (can be on just one side of the body)
- Muscle stiffness and spasms
- Problems with swallowing
These are some of the common signs and symptoms experienced by people. If you feel something out of the ordinary with your body like unexplained pain, fatigue etc., it is always best to seek medical attention.
Common Neurological Disorders You Could be at Risk of…
A progressive neurodegenerative disorder that primarily affects memory and cognitive functions.
Source: Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org)
A chronic disorder characterised by tremors, muscle rigidity, and difficulties with movement and coordination.
Source: Parkinson’s Foundation (www.parkinson.org)
Multiple Sclerosis (MS):
An autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the protective covering of nerve fibres, leading to communication disruptions between the brain and body.
Source: National Multiple Sclerosis Society (www.nationalmssociety.org)
A neurological disorder characterised by recurrent seizures caused by abnormal brain activity.
Source: Epilepsy Foundation (www.epilepsy.com)
A condition resulting from a disrupted blood supply to the brain, leading to a sudden loss of brain function.
Source: American Stroke Association (www.stroke.org)
A chronic headache disorder with recurrent moderate to severe headaches often accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea and sensitivity to light and sound.
Source: Migraine Research Foundation (www.migraineresearchfoundation.org)
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS):
A progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells responsible for voluntary muscle control.
Source: ALS Association (www.alsa.org)
Neurological conditions can be broadly categorised into several groups based on their underlying causes. Some conditions are genetic, while others may result from infections, injuries, autoimmune disorders, or degenerative processes.
10 Tips to Maintain Neurological Health
Engage in regular physical activity, such as aerobic exercises, strength training, or yoga. Exercise promotes blood flow to the brain, reduces the risk of cognitive decline, and enhances neuroplasticity.
Follow a Nutritious Diet:
Consume a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Antioxidant-rich foods, such as berries and leafy greens, can help protect against oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain.
Get Sufficient Sleep:
Prioritise quality sleep to allow your brain and nervous system to rejuvenate. Aim for 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Establish a consistent sleep schedule and create a relaxing bedtime routine.
Chronic stress can negatively impact neurological health. Practice stress management techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or engaging in hobbies you enjoy. Seek social support and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Engage in Mental Stimulation:
Keep your brain active and challenged by engaging in activities that stimulate cognitive function. Read, solve puzzles, learn new skills, play musical instruments, or engage in strategic games to promote brain health.
Maintain a Healthy Weight:
Obesity increases the risk of neurological conditions. Maintain a healthy weight through a combination of regular exercise and a balanced diet. Consult with a healthcare professional for personalised guidance.
Protect Your Head:
Prevent head injuries by wearing appropriate protective gear during sports and activities that pose a risk. Use seat belts while driving, install safety measures at home to prevent falls, and take necessary precautions to avoid traumatic brain injuries.
Limit Alcohol Consumption:
Excessive alcohol consumption can damage brain cells and increase the risk of neurological disorders. Drink alcohol in moderation or avoid it altogether to maintain optimal neurological health.
Proper hydration is essential for brain function. Drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day to support optimal brain and nervous system health.
Socialise and Stay Connected:
Maintain strong social connections and engage in meaningful relationships. Social interaction and support have a positive impact on neurological health, reducing the risk of cognitive decline and depression.
By incorporating these ten habits into your daily routine, you can significantly contribute to the maintenance of optimal neurological health. Remember to consult with healthcare professionals for personalised advice and stay committed to a healthy lifestyle that supports your brain, spine, and nerve well-being.
Harvard Health Publishing. “12 ways to keep your brain young.” Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/12-ways-to-keep-your-brain-young
Cleveland Clinic. “11 Habits That Are Hurting Your Brain.” Available at: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/11-habits-that-are-hurting-your-brain/
In conclusion, neurology and neurosurgery open the door to a fascinating realm of the human body—the intricate workings of the brain, spine, and nerves. These fields provide critical insights into diagnosing and treating a wide range of neurological conditions, offering hope and healing to countless individuals. From understanding the complexities of the nervous system to performing life-changing surgical interventions, neurology and neurosurgery continue to push the boundaries of medical advancement. So, whether you’re fascinated by the mysteries of the mind or seeking innovative solutions for neurological ailments, the world of neurology and neurosurgery awaits endless possibilities for a healthier future.