Why Would I Be Referred to a Neurologist?

Feb 14, 2022

Why Would I Be Referred to a NeurologistIf you’ve been seeing a physical therapist or chiropractor following an accident or injury, it can seem scary, but there are many reasons why you may be referred to a neurologist. While your chiropractic and physical therapy team can evaluate and treat certain ailments, there are certainly symptoms beyond their expertise that would warrant a visit to a different healthcare expert. With all the injuries that physical therapists and chiropractors see after car accidents, they know that patients experiencing tingling in their limbs or prolonged headaches might benefit from neurology care. Before looking for neurologists in Snellville, your current healthcare providers will have gone through your medical history and run any tests necessary before referring you to a specialist who can better address any pain or discomfort you’re experiencing.

What Do Neurologists Do?

Maybe you’ve never heard of a neurologist and have no idea what they do. We’ll explain what neurologists do, what conditions they typically treat, and what you can expect from visiting a neurologist.

Neurologists are medical doctors that specialize in treating the nervous system. Just like ophthalmologists are medical doctors with a specialty in treating the eyes, neurologists are specialized doctors with a particular focus on the brain and spinal cord, which are part of the central and peripheral nervous system. In addition to graduating from medical school, neurologists must also complete internships before going through an additional three years of specialized neurology training.

Neurologists typically manage and treat patients who are experiencing symptoms related to the coordination of their bodily activities and functions. Common disorders that neurologists treat are seizure or epilepsy disorders, speech and language disorders, neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, demyelinating diseases like multiple sclerosis, movement disorders such as Parkinson’s, stroke victims, and headache disorders. Many neurologists have subspecialties, which means they have additional training or expertise in one of the previously mentioned disorders.

Why Would I Need to See a Neurologist?

Because chiropractors and physical therapists are working with patients who have likely experienced some pain or trauma to their nervous system, they’ll be on the lookout for symptoms that should be addressed by a neurologist.

Common reasons that chiropractors and physical therapists would refer you to a neurologist include (but are not limited to):

  • Numbness in arms or legs
  • Difficulty with balance
  • Headaches
  • Memory Loss
  • Tremors
  • Unexplained pain

Neurologists can examine and address these symptoms as they are likely one of the common conditions relating to the nervous system that they typically treat. Here are some of the most common conditions that neurologists are treating:

Chronic Headaches

We all get headaches occasionally, but for those suffering from repeat, unbeatable headaches that are unfixed by chiropractic care or physical therapy, a neurologist referral is a good idea. A referral is necessary if you have multiple headaches each week for a prolonged period of time, and they do not improve with any medication or other home treatment.


Neurologists see many referrals because of migraines. Not only are migraines painful headaches, but they can also cause or make worse sensitivity to light, touch, and sound. Migraines often cause nausea or dizziness, with pain and symptoms lasting from hours to days. Neurologists can help diagnose and treat migraines and help you understand any triggers that may be causing the debilitating headaches. They’ll also potentially prescribe medication or other treatments to help reduce migraines.

Head Injuries

Chiropractors and physical therapists that see head injury patients (from car accidents, falls, etc.) know when to refer their clients to neurologists. Of course, not all head injury patients will need to see a neurologist. However, patients who have suffered severe concussions might need to follow up months after an accident to diagnose or treat any lingering effects of the concussion.


Strokes can be terrifying and occur when you lose blood flow to your brain. Depending on how long or severe a stroke is, your brain cells will start to die when cut off from the supply of blood. Common consequences of a stroke are speech difficulties and controlling emotions. Often the effects of a stroke can last for a long time, requiring treatment to relearn any skills or functions that were lost as a result of the stroke.

Seizures or Epilepsy

Seizures are dangerous episodes that start in your brain and can cause rapid and/or involuntary movements. Occasionally people having seizures lose consciousness. Seizures can be a sign of a chronic disorder, and neurologists can help by running tests and diagnosing issues using scans and other assessments.

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, is a progressive and chronic condition causing numbness, weakness, and tingling sensations because it affects your brain and spinal cord. Because MS is a progressive disease, symptoms may change over time or be varied throughout the disease. Neurologists help diagnose MS and provide treatment plans based on the severity and progress of the disease.

How Can I Prepare for a Neurology Appointment?

Seeing specialists for your health can be frightening, confusing, and may make you feel nervous. Having an idea of what will happen at your first neurology appointment can help reduce anxiety and help the appointment go smoothly. We recommend you:

  • Have a list or log of what symptoms you’ve been having, the duration and frequency of the symptoms
  • Create a list of questions you have
  • Prepare to share your medical history, either online before the appointment, or have it ready to share at your appointment
  • Research neurologists in your area
  • Make sure the neurologist you’re seeing is covered by your insurance and in-network

At your first neurologist appointment, you can expect a few routine things. They’ll go over your medical history, ask about your symptoms and run through some examinations to test your coordination, balance, sensation, mental state, strength, sight, and reflexes. Your neurologist may order additional tests depending on what your examination reveals. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scan are routine scans ordered by neurologists to help them diagnose your condition.

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