The American Academy of Neurology (AAN)
The American Academy of Neurology (web page http://www.aan.com) provides information about research and breakthroughs in the medical field of neurology. the website of the American Academy of Neurology has search tools about how to find a neurologist in by city, state, and zip code. The American Academy of Neurology website is for both Neurologists and patients. Their website has information for professionals in the field (both medical students and Neurologists) about group membership, the latest research and breakthrough in the field of neurology, and the benefits of membership.
The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) is a professional society for neurologists and neuroscientists. Doctors and medical students who become members have the opportunity to attend their annual conferences to learn about the latest advances in the field, and they will be added to the AAN mailing list for their published print journal, Neurology.
Neurologist. A neurologist is a doctor who has advanced training in diagnosing and treating problems related to the nervous system. The nervous system includes the central nervous system, consisting of the brain and spinal cord, and the peripheral nervous system, consisting of the nerves that exit the spinal cord and travel to the rest of the body. The cause of back pain related to nervous system dysfunction usually involves compression of the nerve roots that exit the spinal cord. Usually, the cause of back pain is not a result of damage to the spinal cord itself, as it is well protected within the meningeal layers and the vertebral vertebrae, in the spinal canal. In cases where the suspected cause of back pain is compression of the nerve roots or nerve damage, a patient may be referred to a neurologist. Neurologists, often with the aid of radiographic imaging (e.g. X-Ray, CT, MRI) will evaluate for nerve damage for back problems such as spinal stenosis. A neurologist may perform nerve tests (EMG, or electromyography) to see if the one or more of the nerve roots exiting the spine is compressed to the degree its ability to conduct electrical signals is compromised. The nerve tests may provide information and abnormalities that the radiologic images didn't, or it may just provide additional information to the neurologist that is valuable towards diagnoses and treatment.
The radiology images and nerve tests together may help to determine the cause of back pain and whether structures in the spine are impinging on nerves. Although nerve root impingement is a serious problem, there are several treatments available, and not all of them involve surgery. If the neurologist determines that surgery is the best option, he may refer the patient to a neurosurgeon or spine surgeon who will perform the procedures. The neurosurgeon/spine surgeon may create more space for pinched/compressed nerve by removing a disc that has become malformed as a result of injury or age related degeneration, or they may remove part of the vertebral bone. Spinal surgery to create more space for compressed nerves include the lumbar laminectomy (or open decompression) and microdiscectomy (or microdecompression).
The neurologist is trained to conduct and read the results of the nerve tests, as well as any structural abnormalities seen on radiology images. On these medical images, neurologists are trained to identify spinal tumors, isthmic or degenerative spondylolisthesis, herniated discs, and spinal stenosis, and then refer the patient to the appropriate surgeon if the patient is determined to be a surgical candidate.