A neurologist is a physician who is specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the nervous system. After completing medical school a neurologist will complete 1 to 3 years of training in Internal Medicine (or pediatrics if he is to become a pediatric neurologist). He will then complete a 3 year residency in neurology. Some will get additional training (fellowship) in certain specific areas of neurology (e.g. epilepsy, muscle disorders, movement disorders, etc.).
Common disorders that a neurologist may deal with include epilepsy, headaches, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, nerve/muscle problems, memory/thinking problems, and brain tumors. Problems involving the nervous system that involve abnormal behavior may benefit from seeing a neurologist, but these problems are generally dealt with by a psychiatrist.
A typical visit to the neurologist would involve taking a detailed history of your problem. This would be followed with a detailed physical exam, focusing on the nervous system. Often times the neurologist may be involved in the ordering, performance and interpretation of such things as MRI brain scans, electroencephalograms, electromyograms/nerve conduction studies, and other diagnostic studies.
After this process results in a diagnosis, the neurologist would then initiate and provide continuing nonsurgical care for the problem/condition that has been identified.