Common neurological conditions & recommended resources.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system that can be unpredictable and range from relatively benign, to somewhat disabling, to devastating, as communication from the brain and other parts of the body are disrupted. A physician may be able to diagnose MS in some patients soon after the onset of the illness; while in others cases, doctors may not be able to readily identify and diagnose the cause of symptoms.
Click to read more about Multiple Sclerosis from the American Academy of Neurology.
National Multiple Sclerosis Society - https://www.nationalmssociety.org
MS International Federation - https://www.msif.org
Epilepsy is a fairly common brain disorder that can range from severe, life-threatening and disabling, to benign and controlled. It is a chronic neurological disorder that causes recurrent, unprovoked seizures that typically last between 30 seconds to 2 minutes in duration. A seizure is sudden abnormal electrical activity in the brain, that can cause strange sensations, emotions, behaviors, convulsions, muscle spasms and loss of consciousness. Epilepsy can be caused by brain injury, illness or it can be genetic. While there is no cure for epilepsy, seizures can be controlled for some with medications, devices, diet, and/or surgery. Most seizures do not cause brain damage, but ongoing uncontrolled seizures can cause brain damage. It is not uncommon for people with epilepsy to develop behavioral and emotional problems in conjunction with epilepsy.
Click to read more about Epilepsy from the American Academy of Neurology.
Epilepsy Foundation - https://www.epilepsy.com/alabama
The most common type of headache is migraine. Women are three times more likely to develop these excruciating headaches compared to men. Migraines begin when an internal or external trigger leads to hyperactive cranial nerves, it is usually characterized by moderate-severe pain on one or both sides of the head, sensitivity to lights, sounds, or smells, dizziness, nausea and vomiting. Migraine attacks last at least four hours and may persist for up to three days, some patients continue to feel weak or confused for up to 24 hours after an attack. We provide comprehensive treatment for migraine headaches to identify triggers and create an effective treatment plan. Appropriate treatments may include pain-relieving and preventative medications, nerve block, and botulinum toxin injections for chronic migraines.
Click here to read more about Migraines from the American Academy of Neurology.
American Migraine Foundation - https://americanmigrainefoundation.org
Neuropathy is the result of nerve damage or dysfunction, symptoms vary based on the location and type of nerves affected. The peripheral nervous system is made of nerves branching from the spinal cord to all parts of the body. These nerve cells have three main parts: cell body, axons, and dendrites (nerve/muscle junctions). Any part of the nerve can be affected but damage to the axon is the most common. The axon transmits signals from nerve cell to nerve cell or muscle. Neuropathy can affect sensory, motor, or autonomic nerves. Damage or dysfunction to sensory or motor nerve cells can cause symptoms of neuropathy including: numbness or tingling, electrical sensations, sharp, throbbing or burning pain, sensitivity to touch, and loss of coordination. There are many potential causes of peripheral neuropathy: trauma/pressure, a number of diseases (including diabetes), poor nutrition, medication side effects, and many suffer without ever finding the cause. Diagnosis and treatment will be based on examination, diagnostic testing and blood tests; treatment often includes medication to control symptoms and prevent further nerve damage.
Click here to read more about Peripheral Neuropathy from the American Academy of Neurology.
The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy - https://www.foundationforpn.org
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is suddenly interrupted or when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures and bleeds into the surrounding tissue. This deprives the brain of oxygen and other nutrients, damaging brain cells. The symptoms of stroke include: sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion, trouble speaking or slurred speech, sudden difficulty seeing in one or both eyes; facial drooping, especially on one side of the face; sudden difficulty walking, loss of balance or coordination, dizziness, or severe headache. It is important to act quickly in the event of a stroke and seek immediate medical attention.
Treatment for stroke is usually divided into three stages: prevention, initial therapy immediately following the stroke and post-stroke therapy and rehabilitation. Preventative therapies are based on medical appropriateness and underlying risk factors for stoke. Post-stroke therapy may include botulinum toxin injections for spasticity, physical, occupational, or speech therapy, and symptom based treatment with medication.
Click here to read more about Stroke from the American Academy of Neurology.
American Stroke Association - https://www.stroke.org
Spasticity results when muscles stiffen, preventing normal fluid movement. Muscles remain contracted and resist being stretched, thus affecting movement, gait and speech. It is generally caused by damage or disruption to the area of the brain and spinal cord responsible for controlling muscle and stretch reflex. People with brain injury (stroke or trauma), spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, or multiple sclerosis can have varying degrees of spasticity.
Dystonia is a movement disorder in which involuntary muscle contractions cause repetitive, twisting movement or abnormal posture. Common types of dystonia include spasmodic torticollis, which affects muscles of the head and neck, and blepharospasm, which causes involuntary twitching and closing of the eyelids.
There are several treatment options for spasticity and dystonia that can be used together to effectively alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life. These treatments include: physical therapy, occupational therapy, bracing, medication, and botulinum toxin injections. Botulinum toxin is a neuromuscular agent that works to block nerve pathways that transmit signals from specific muscles to the brain. When injected into a treatment area botulinum binds to nerve cells and prevents chemical reactions associated with nerve signaling. By controlling the nerves, botulinum controls muscles contractions in affected muscles.
Click here to read more about Dystonia/Spasticity from the American Academy of Neurology.
Dystonia Medical Research Foundation - https://dystonia-foundation.org
Botox Savings Program - https://www.botoxsavingsprogram.com
Ispen Cares (Dysport) - https://www.ipsencares.com/
Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a movement disorder that develops when nerves that control movement deteriorate and lose their ability to produce dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating body movement; the loss of dopamine causes Parkinsonian symptoms. PD is both a chronic and progressive disease, the rate at which symptoms progress differs for each patient.
The four primary symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease are:
Tremor: uncontrolled shaking that occurs at rest and typically improves with purposeful movement
Rigidity: muscle stiffness and increased muscle tone
Bradykinesia: slow movements and gradual loss of automatic movements
Postural Instability: difficulty with balance
Pharmacological treatment for PD is based on symptoms and works to supply dopamine to nerve cells. As the disease progresses and medications fail to produce results a more invasive treatment may be recommended. Deep Brain Stimulation (DST) is a surgically implanted device that sends localized electric impulses to block faulty nerve signals in the brain to improve symptoms of PD.
Click here to read more about Parkinson’s Disease from the American Academy of Neurology.
Parkinson’s Foundation - https://www.parkinson.org
Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson’s Research - https://davisphinneyfoundation.org
Michael J. Fox Foundation - https://www.michaeljfox.org
Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning- thinking, remembering and reasoning abilities to the extent that it interferes with daily living. Individuals with dementia lose their ability to maintain emotional control, they may experience personality changes, behavioral problems, hallucinations, and delusions.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an age-related, irreversible, progressive brain disorder that develops over a period of several years. Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most common forms of dementia. Initially, people may experience mild symptoms of memory loss and confusion, which can often be mistaken for normal age-related changes. However, symptoms of AD slowly lead to behavior and personality changes, decline in cognitive abilities, such as decision making and language skills and problems recognizing family and friends. Treatment for AD and dementia is variable and will be customized based on the patient’s medical history, examination & symptoms. Optimal treatment results come from a dynamic, patient-centered approach.
Click here to read more about Alzheimer’s Disease/Dementia from the American Academy of Neurology.
Alzheimer’s Association - https://www.alz.org
Administration for Community Living - https://acl.gov/programs