What is a Neurologist?

What is a Neurologist?

A neurologist is a highly trained cognitive and diagnostic specialist of the nervous system comprising of both the central and peripheral nervous system i.e., brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. He is a specialist medical doctor trained for the conditions like neuro-genetics and developmental problems and can treat neurological disorders. Thousands of neurological diseases demand neurologist’s management and treatment some being so common that people take them casually like migraines and uncontrolled headaches etc.

A neurologist must have

  • Graduation degree from a medical school (4 to 5 years)
  • Minimum one-year internship
  • Minimum 3-5 years of training in the neurology residency program

A Neurologist must be trained to diagnose complex neurological conditions through a detailed history and physical examination as the neurological exam is a very critical component of patient evaluation that includes testing of mental status, coordination, speech, sensation and reflexes. He must be familiar with the latest research and treatment options for neurological conditions.

Neurologists are different from neurosurgeons as they don’t perform any kind of surgery on the brain or spinal cord but they work closely together to treat many neurological conditions.

Symptoms that Require a Neurologist Consultation

People should consider the following symptoms serious and consult a neurologist immediately if the symptoms start appearing more frequently or with more severity

  • Coordination problems or imbalance
  • Uncontrolled chronic headaches like migraines
  • Muscle weakness
  • Memory loss or confusion, personality changes or mixing up words
  • Change in sensations or having problems with senses like vision, smell or touch
  • Numbness and chronic pain
  • Dizziness or experiencing vertigo
  • Movement problems like difficulty in walking, unintentional jerks, or shuffling feet



Neurological Disorders

There are many different types of neurological disorders based on the pathological conditions involving different and specific parts of the nervous system including:

  • Cerebrovascular disease like stroke that is the 3rd leading cause of disability
  • Seizure disorders such as epilepsy
  • Neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease
  • Movement Disorders such as Parkinson’s disease
  • Demyelinating disease such as Multiple sclerosis
  • Neuromuscular disorders such as Myasthenia gravis
  • Infections of nervous systems like meningitis or encephalitis
  • Spinal cord disorders
  • Headaches disorders like migraines or cluster headaches.
  • Speech and language disorders

Neurological Subspecialties

Due to the extreme complexity of nervous system, the medical neurological study is divided into different subspecialties as one cannot specialize in the whole nervous system and it’s mandatory to narrow the doctor’s focus. After 3 years of residency, neurologist has to do a fellowship program to enhance the capabilities in that particular area. Some of the important subspecialties related to neurology are as follows:

  • Intervention neuroradiology
  • Neuromuscular medicine
  • Child neurology
  • Neuro-critical care
  • Geriatric neurology
  • Neuro-oncology

Neurological Exam or Evaluation

The neurological exam is the most important tool to differentiate and localize the cause of complaints as these symptoms can lead to some serious neurological disorders. Evaluation is considered very critical as most neurological disorders have common symptoms so neurologists must have a good diagnostic approach. A neurologist performs the physical and neurological exam to test muscle strength, reflexes and coordination. Initially, the nervous system is assessed by using light instruments like reflex hammers. But mostly a neurologist may need and recommend more testing to diagnose the condition and suggest treatment accordingly. Some common procedures are as follows

Computed Tomography (CT) or Computer-assisted Tomography Scans

It is considered one of the best ways for the detailed examination of brain structure and tissues by allowing X-ray beams to circulate the body providing different views of the brain and spinal cord for better diagnosis.

Lumbar Puncture

This test is done for the analysis of cerebrospinal fluid and is done if a neurologist suggest that your particular nervous disorder can be detected by analysis of cerebrospinal fluid. The procedure is to numb the spine and take a sample by inserting a needle in the intervertebral space.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

It uses a strong magnetic field or radio waves to generate images of the anatomy as well as the physiological processes in the body. A neurologist mostly uses this test to diagnose stroke, vascular irregularities and other neurodegenerative disorders.

Tensilon Test

It is the diagnostic test for neuromuscular disorder such as myasthenia gravis. Its name is based on the medicine ‘Tensilon’ that is injected to observe its effect on muscle movements.

Electroencephalography (EEG)

It is the most common test used to measure the brain’s electrical activity for the diagnosis of tumors, inflammation, injuries or psychiatric disorders. To perform this test, electrodes in the form of small cups are placed around the scalp and technicians observe the brain signals on exposure to different stimulus like different noises or lightening. It is recommended to avoid stimulus one day before the test.

Electromyography (EMG)

The electrical connection between the brain or spinal cord and a peripheral nerve is measured by this diagnostic test for the diagnosis of muscle/nerve dysfunction or spinal cord disease. This nerve is responsible for muscle control during rest and movement and is found in arms and legs. The muscle activity is measured by inserting small electrodes into muscles during both rest and movement. This activity is then recorded by a machine attached to the electrode for further analysis and diagnosis.

Along with EMG, some neurologists also recommend Nerve Conduction Velocity (NCV) test as it helps to assess the ability of nerves to send signals responsible to control these muscle movements.

Positron Emission Tomography (PET)

This is the diagnostic test for tumors or diseased tissues in the brain by investigating quantification of brain metabolism and alterations in regional blood flow.

Other studies include angiography (to determine blockage in blood vessels going to the brain) and sleep studies. Some procedures like LCS and EMG or NCS can be performed even by general neurologists but for inter-operative brain and spine monitoring or endovascular procedures, a neurologist must be trained in that particular field or sub-speciality.

Thus, a neurologist is the one that can diagnose and treat your neurological issues and relieve chronic pain. So if you have any symptoms as mentioned above, do visit a trusted Dallas neurologist before it gets complicated.

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Testimonials from our patients

Rose Lotus
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I felt lucky to have find Dr. Alshareef while browsing for a Neurologist doctor. Julia at the front desk is very nice and helpful. His office is warm, welcoming and very relaxing. Finding a doctor who cares and understands patients, is hard and time consuming. I hope to share my thought here, so others get to know what a great Doctor he is!
Javier M. Jaar
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I was seen by Dr. Alshareef on a Teleneurology camera, his office staff helped me install the phone program in a few easy steps. It was a very organized visit in how he went through my medical problems one by one, and planned to meet monthly. He was so amazingly informative and help full. Thank you for all you did to help me.
Fernando Cruz
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I’m glad to have found this place. Dr. Alshareef has been so helpful towards my sisters recovery. It’s a blessing to have the support and care they offer here. Our family couldn’t be more thankful for all their hard work. Thank you everyone at Superior Neurology!
Roxanne Garcia
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Excellent services!! Dr. Alshareef is caring and helpful. He will provide the treatment you need and go out of he’s way to make sure you are in good health. Superior Neurology is the place to go for neurological treatment!
Colin Robinson
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An excellent center that genuinely cares about their patients. He made my dad feel comfortable after his stroke, and took out the time to make sure he understood the total impact and affect on his life, as well as how to compensate for it.
Kristina Owens
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Dr. Alshareef and his staff are wonderful, professional people who go above and beyond for their patients. He is genuinely concerned with and takes his time with his patients. I would recommend him to anyone searching for a caring and dedicated physician.
Moez Alnazeer
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My niece suffered from seizure spells for a long time & she has been prescribed several seizure medications by many doctors but continued to have seizures despite everything. We almost lost hope until a friend of us referred us to Dr. Alshareef! Going there was the best decision we made. He was extremely kind and attentive. He spent a lot of time listening to us & trying to understand our problem. He stopped the old medications she was taking & started her on a new regimen & since then she had no seizures! & it’s her first 6 months without an episode. We are so grateful. God bless you!
Sagal Dalmar
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Dr. Alshareef and his staff were wonderful! Great attention to detail. I felt that they went above and beyond to help me with my needs. Dr. Alshareef explained everything for me in a way that I(non-medical professional) could understand. I highly recommend him to everyone.
Rebecca Paddock
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Dr. Al-Shareef is a fabulous neurologist and an even better human being. He takes the time to listen to the patient (and her daughter!). He looks at the whole person and tailors care based on their specific circumstances. He’s reliable, dependable, trustworthy, knowledgeable, and, most importantly, he says it like it is. As a result of Dr Al-Shareef’s insight, my mother is off a bunch of medicines, safer (reduced balance issues means less falling), doing more, and happier. If I could rate him higher than 5 stars, I would.
Mohammed alaa Aljammal
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This is truly a SUPERIOR NEUROLOGY clinic! very clean and comforting environment, staff was very warm and welcoming, Dr. Alshareef is very solid, helpful, and went above and beyond expectations, and most importantly, my headache is finally much better. Absolutely recommend to anyone needing an exceptional neurologist !

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