The Importance of Neurosurgeons and Neurologists in the Medical Field

By Preeti Shukla (Editor)

Imagine this: you suffer from chronic low back pain and the pain reaches the point where you can no longer perform your daily tasks. The pain was somewhat bearable at first, but now it’s a paralyzing pain. Who would you go to in this case?

If you answered either a neurologist or a neurosurgeon, then you would be correct! Chronic back pain, believe it or not, actually stems from the brain. To truly fix chronic back pain, patients should understand the role of the brain—not the spine—that plays a role into this “paralyzing” pain.  Numerous medical problems actually stem from the brain. Neurosurgeons and neurologists treat conditions of the brain and nervous system that can have subtle yet devastating effects. Neurologists and neurosurgeons work alongside each other. Neurologists treat the disorders and figure out what is wrong, and if needed, refer the patients to a neurosurgeon for surgery. After the surgery is done, neurologists will monitor the patients and oversee their treatment. Quite often, they will have to monitor the patient for months at a time.

Ultimately, without having a brain, humans could not possibly perform day to day tasks or process information. The brain is an organ, and one of the most important ones, as it controls the body as a whole. If you placed your hand on a hot stove, what would your first instinct be? You would most likely remove your hand from the stove, as you would feel pain. The brain sends signals to parts of the body that are in danger or in pain. In the case of the hot stove, sensory receptors send signals to the hand, letting you know that something is hurting you. Then, your brain sends another signal letting you know that your best option, to avoid burning yourself, is to remove your hand from the stove. What would happen if our brains were not able to process the pain? We would be putting ourselves in dangerous situations without even realizing it. The pain can signify an underlying disease as the  natural instinct in all humans is to take themselves away from areas/sites of pain. Neurosurgeons and neurologists participate in research to understand why and how certain diseases arise. With their help, cures for these diseases are formed.

A neurosurgeon and his/her patient share a unique bond in the field of medicine. Neurosurgeons are ultimately cutting into one’s brain—the same place where one’s thoughts, memories, and feelings arise. For a patient to agree to brain surgery, they must have trust in whoever is performing the surgery. When the trust is developed, the patient and the neurosurgeon develop a long-lasting relationship with each other. Neurosurgery can be one of the most enriching, challenging, and thought provoking careers one could have.

Vivian Lu