Health Information

Nervous System Disorders

  • Acute Spinal Cord Injury

    Car accidents, falls, and other injuries are a common cause of acute spinal cord injury.

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a fatal neurological disorder characterized by progressive degeneration of nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain. It is often referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease.

  • Alzheimer Disease

    Alzheimer disease is a disease that affects the brain and nervous system. It is a type of dementia that happens when nerve cells in the brain die.

  • Anatomy of the Brain

    The brain is an important organ that controls thought, memory, emotion, touch, motor skills, vision, respiration, and every process that regulates your body.

  • Bell's Palsy

    Bell's palsy is an unexplained episode of facial muscle weakness or paralysis that begins suddenly and worsens over 48 hours. It is caused by a damaged facial nerve.

  • Brain Tumors: Treatment Questions

    A brain tumor is an abnormal growth of tissue in the brain. The tumor can either originate in the brain itself or come from another part of the body and travel to the brain.

  • Neurological Disorders

    Here is a list of nervous system disorders that require clinical care by a physician or other healthcare professional.

  • Encephalitis

    Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain. The inflammation causes the brain to swell, which leads to changes in neurological function, resulting in mental confusion and seizures.

  • Epilepsy and Seizures

    Epilepsy is a brain condition that causes a person to have seizures. It is one of the most common disorders of the nervous system.

  • Neurological Exam

    A neurological exam may be performed with instruments, such as lights and reflex hammers, and usually does not cause any pain to the patient.

  • Guillain-Barré Syndrome

    Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a rare neurological disorder in which the body's immune system attacks the peripheral nervous system.

  • Lumbar Disk Disease (Herniated Disk)

    Lumbar disk disease occurs when the spongy disks between the vertebrae bulge out or rupture.

  • Headache

    Nearly everyone has suffered from a headache. This article discusses several types of headache, how they are diagnosed and treated.

  • Head Injury

    A head injury is a broad term that describes a vast array of injuries that occur to the scalp, skull, brain, and underlying tissue and blood vessels in the head. Head injuries are also commonly referred to as brain injury, or traumatic brain injury (TBI), depending on the extent of the head trauma.

  • How a Migraine Happens

    One theory says that migraine pain occurs because of waves of activity by groups of excitable brain cells, which trigger chemicals, such as serotonin to constrict blood vessels.

  • Home Page - Nervous System Disorders

    The nervous system is a complex, sophisticated system that regulates and coordinates the body's basic functions and activities. It is made up of two major divisions: the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system.

  • Meningitis

    Meningitis is inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain. Meningitis can be caused by either a virus or bacteria. Bacterial meningitis may be life-threatening.

  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

    Multiple sclerosis is a disease in which the fatty tissue that surrounds the nerves is destroyed. When this happens, the nerves are unable to conduct electrical impulses to and from the brain. It causes muscle weakness, impaired coordination, and fatigue.

  • Tension Headaches

    Tension headaches are the most common type of headache. Stress and muscle tension are often factors in tension type headaches.

  • Types of Muscular Dystrophy and Neuromuscular Diseases

    Muscular dystrophy is a group of inherited diseases that are characterized by weakness and wasting away of muscle tissue, with or without the breakdown of nerve tissue.

  • Neurology

    Neurology is the branch of medicine that is concerned with the study and treatment of disorders of the nervous system.

  • Neurological Surgery

    Neurological surgery is used to treat disorders of the brain, spine, and nerves. The healthcare provider who specializes in neurological surgery is called a neurosurgeon or neurological surgeon.

  • Online Resources - Nervous System Disorders

    A list of online resources to find additional information on nervous system disorders.

  • Overview of Nervous System Disorders

    Disorders of the nervous system include stroke, infections, such as meningitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and functional disorders, such as headache and epilepsy.

  • Parkinson Disease

    Parkinson disease is a motor system disorder that causes trembling, stiffness and trouble moving.

  • Neurological Rehabilitation

    Neurological rehabilitation is a physician-supervised program designed for people with diseases, trauma, or disorders of the nervous system. Neurological rehabilitation can often improve function, reduce symptoms, and improve the well-being of the patient.

  • Septicemia

    Septicemia is the clinical name for blood poisoning by bacteria. It is a medical emergency and needs urgent medical treatment.

  • Topic Index - Nervous System Disorders

    Here is a list of the most common types of neurological disorders, including acute spinal cord injury, Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, and headaches.

  • Rehabilitation for Stroke

    Stroke rehabilitation works best when the patient, family, and rehabilitation staff works together as a team. Family members must learn about impairments and disabilities caused by the stroke and how to help the patient achieve optimal function again.

  • Diagnostic Tests for Neurological Disorders

    Evaluating and diagnosing damage to the nervous system is complicated and complex. Many of the same symptoms occur in different combinations among the different disorders.

  • Diagnosis and Treatment for Migraines

    To help diagnose a migraine, your doctor may ask you when your headaches occur, how long they last, and what they feel like.

  • Types of Stroke

    Strokes are classified as either ischemic or hemorrhagic. Ischemic strokes are caused by blockage of an artery. Hemorrhagic strokes are caused by bleeding in the brain.

  • Migraine Headaches

    This often severe, throbbing type of headache is different from other types of headaches in that symptoms other than pain occur with the headache. Nausea and vomiting, lightheadedness, sensitivity to light (photophobia), and other visual disturbances are common migraine symptoms.

  • Cluster Headaches

    Cluster headaches are rare and cause severe pain that tends to recur in the same way each time. Cluster headaches occur in groups, or clusters, and each attack last about 1 to 3 hours on average.

  • Ataxia

    Ataxia means without coordination. People with ataxia lose muscle control in their arms and legs, which may lead to a lack of balance, coordination, and trouble walking. Ataxia may affect the fingers, hands, arms, legs, body, speech, and even eye movements.

  • Cerebral Aneurysm

    A cerebral aneurysm (also called an intracranial aneurysm or brain aneurysm) is a bulging, weakened area in the wall of an artery in the brain, resulting in an abnormal ballooning of the artery that is at risk for rupturing.

  • Myasthenia Gravis

    Myasthenia gravis is a chronic, complex, autoimmune disorder in which antibodies destroy neuromuscular connections. This causes problems with communication between nerves and muscle, resulting in weakness of the skeletal muscles. Myasthenia gravis affects the voluntary muscles of the body, especially the eyes, mouth, throat, and limbs.

  • Muscular Dystrophy

    Muscular dystrophy causes the muscles in the body to become very weak. The muscles break down and are replaced with fatty deposits over time.

  • Stroke

    A stroke, or brain attack, happens when blood flow to your brain is stopped. It is an emergency situation.

  • Stroke (Brain Attack)

    Detailed information on stroke, also called brain attack, including history, statistics, symptoms, types, effects, diagnostic, treatment, and rehabilitation information

  • Effects of Stroke

    When an area of the brain is damaged, which typically occurs with a stroke, an impairment may result. An impairment is the loss of normal function of part of the body. Sometimes, an impairment may result in a disability, or inability to perform an activity in a normal way.

  • Concussion

    A mild concussion is called by a blow or jolt to the head.

  • Absence Seizures

    Absence seizures are a type of epilepsy that is most common in children. it is characterized by a blank or absent stare.

  • Traumatic Brain Injury

    A traumatic brain injury is caused by a blow, jolt, or penetration of the head resulting in brain damage.

  • Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyradiculoneuropathy

    Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy is a rare autoimmune disorder that attacks the myelin sheaths around nerve cells.

  • Transverse Myelitis

    Transverse myelitis is inflammation and scarring of the spinal cord that causes pain and weakness in the body.

  • Chiari Malformation Type I

    A Chiari malformation is a problem in which a part of the brain at the rear of the skull bulges through a normal opening in the skull where it joins the spinal canal.

  • Essential Tremor (ET)

    Essential tremor (ET) is a neurological disorder that causes your hands, head, trunk, voice, and/or legs to shake rhythmically. It is often confused with Parkinson disease. It is most common in people older than 65.

  • Huntington Disease

    Huntington disease is a brain disorder that can lead to emotional disturbances, loss of intellectual abilities, and uncontrolled movements.

  • Status Epilepticus

    A seizure that lasts at least 30 minutes is called status epilepticus, or a prolonged seizure. This is a medical emergency that may lead to permanent brain damage or death. Many medical experts become concerned that a seizure is status epilepticus after it lasts 5 to 10 minutes.

  • Neuromyelitis Optica

    Neuromyelitis optica, also called NMO, is a rare yet severe autoimmune inflammatory process affecting the central nervous system.

  • Polio

    Polio is now rare in the United States because of a vaccine against the virus. But, it still exists in a few countries. If you have not been vaccinated, you could get it while traveling to other regions.

  • Cranial Neuropathies

    Cranial neuropathy is a disorder that causes nerve damage in the nerves that arise from the brain and brainstem. This disorder can affect the ability of the face and eyes to feel and move.

  • Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

    Normal pressure hydrocephalus is excess cerebrospinal fluid buildup in the brain ventricles. It may develop from infection ,bleeding, injury, or surgery.

  • Parkinson Disease and Dementia

    Parkinson disease is a movement disorder that can cause muscles to tighten and become rigid. It can make it difficult to walk and engage in daily activities and cause other symptoms.

  • Peripheral Neuropathy

    Peripheral neuropathy is a type of damage to the nervous system.

  • Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis

    Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) is a type of multiple sclerosis characterized by flare-ups with periods of remission in between. Most people diagnosed with MS start off with this type.

  • Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis

    Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that interferes with your brain's ability to operate your body.

  • Prion Diseases

    Prion diseases comprise several conditions. A prion is a type of protein that can trigger normal proteins in the brain to fold abnormally. Prion diseases can affect both humans and animals and are sometimes transmitted to humans by infected meat products. The most common form of prion disease that affects humans is Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).

  • Caring for Someone with Alzheimer Disease

    Alzheimer disease is a progressive condition, which means that it keeps getting worse. Eventually, people with Alzheimer disease need help with daily activities because they lose the ability to dress, bathe, and feed themselves.

  • Early-Onset Alzheimer Disease

    Alzheimer disease most commonly affects older adults, but it can also affect people in their 30s or 40s. When Alzheimer disease occurs in someone under age 65, it is known as early-onset (or younger-onset) Alzheimer disease.

  • Stages of Alzheimer Disease

    Alzheimer disease is a brain disorder that causes memory loss, confusion, and changes in personality. It is a type of dementia.

  • Progressive Supranuclear Palsy

    Progressive supranuclear palsy is a disorder in a small section of the brain that causes weakness of certain muscles.This is a rare disorder but may be mistaken for Parkinson's disease.

  • Trigeminal Neuralgia

    Trigeminal neuralgia is a type of nerve pain that affects your face.

  • Increased Intracranial Pressure (ICP)

    A brain injury or another medical condition can cause growing pressure inside your skull. This dangerous condition is called increased intracranial pressure (ICP) and can lead to a headache. The pressure also further injure your brain or spinal cord.

  • Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB)

    Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is a form of progressive dementia caused by degeneration of the tissues in the brain.

  • Frontotemporal Dementia

    Frontotemporal dementia (FTD), a common cause of dementia, is a group of disorders that occur when nerve cells in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain are lost. This causes the lobes to shrink. FTD can affect behavior, personality, language, and movement.

  • Vascular Dementia

    Vascular dementia is caused by decreased blood flow to brain tissue causing signs of dementia.

  • Anatomy of the Spinal Cord

    Made up of bundles of nerves, the spinal cord carries signals from your body to your brain, and vice versa.

  • Anatomy of the Skull Base

    The skull base offers support from the bottom. Think of it as the interior of the skull, where the brain rests.

  • Stages of Sleep

    One way that scientists measure sleep is through brain waves, which change in specific ways as you move through the sleep process. Your brain waves change during four basic stages of sleep.

  • Sleep/Wake Cycles

    How and when you feel sleepy has to do with your sleep/wake cycles, which are triggered by chemicals in the brain.

  • Insomnia

    Insomnia is trouble falling to sleep or staying asleep. One in 3 adults has bouts of insomnia.

  • A Vocabulary for Sleep

    A number of sleep disorders can keep you from catching your zzz’s. To help you understand what could be keeping you from the rest you need, get familiar with the vocabulary of sleep issues.

  • Overview of Tests and Procedures for Sleep Disorders

    To find out the cause of your sleep problems, your doctor may run a number of tests. These may confirm or rule out various health conditions and other problems.

  • Primary Sleep Disorders: Parasomnia

    Parasomnias are common sleep disorders that are characterized by strange or bizarre behavior or experiences during sleep.

  • Primary Sleep Disorders: Dyssomnias

    Dyssomnia sleep disorders cause difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. An example of a dyssomnia is periodic limb movements in sleep.

  • Sleep Deprivation

    Most adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Sleep deprivation means you're not getting enough sleep.

  • Parasomnias: Sleepwalking

    Sleepwalking refers to a type of sleep disorder that involves walking while in a deep sleep. But despite the name, sleepwalking can actually refer to more than that.

  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

    Complex regional pain syndrome is an abnormal response by the body to pain.

  • Pinched Nerve

    Radiculopathy, commonly called pinched nerve, often occurs in the lower back.

  • Treating Pain with Spinal Cord Stimulators

    Spinal cord stimulation is one way to manage various types of pain. A spinal cord stimulator is an implanted device that sends low levels of electricity directly into the spinal cord.

  • TENS Therapy

    Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, or TENS, offers pain relief for some people by sending low-voltage electrical current into the body.

  • Nerve Blocks

    Neural blockades, commonly called nerve blocks, are procedures that can help prevent or manage many different types of intractable pain.

  • Therapeutic Pain Blocks

    If you don't get relief from standard pain relievers, you doctor may suggest injecting pain-relieving medicine into the site of the affected nerve.

  • OTC Pain Medicines and Their Risks

    OTC pain relievers can be divided into just 2 main types: acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, or NSAIDs.

  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease

    Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is an inherited nerve defect that causes abnormalities in the nerves that supply your feet, legs, hands, and arms.

  • Friedreich's Ataxia

    Friedreich's ataxia is a rare, inherited, degenerative disease that damages the spinal cord, peripheral nerves and the cerebellum. It causes movement problems and loss of sensation due to nerve injury.

  • Meningioma

    A meningioma is a tumor that grows in the meninges, the layers of tissues that cover the brain and spinal cord.

  • Lambert-Eaton Syndrome

    Lambert-Eaton syndrome in as autoimmune disorder affecting the areas where nerves and muscles connect. It causes weak muscles, difficulty walking and other symptoms.

  • Epidural Abscess

    An epidural abscess is an infection that forms in the space between your skull bones and your brain lining (intracranial epidural abscess).

  • Cerebral Abscess

    A cerebral abscess can cause your brain to swell, putting harmful pressure on brain tissue. An abscess can also keep blood from flowing to parts of your brain. If you develop this problem, you will need emergency treatment.

  • Dystonia

    Dystonia is a body movement disorder. It causes your muscles to contract, move involuntarily, or get stuck in an abnormal position.

  • Brachial Neuritis

    Brachial neuritis is nerve damage that affects the chest, shoulder, arm, and hand. It causes pain, weakness and lack of muscle control and lack of feeling in the shoulder or arm.

  • Brachial Plexus Injuries

    The brachial plexus can be injured in many different ways — from pressure, stress, or being stretched too far. The nerves may also be cut or damaged by cancer or radiation treatment. Sometimes, brachial plexus injuries happen to babies during childbirth.

  • Pseudotumor Cerebri

    Pseudotumor cerebri is a disorder related to high pressure in the brain. It causes signs and symptoms of a brain tumor. It is also called intracranial hypertension.

  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

    A subarachnoid hemorrhage means that there is bleeding in the space that surrounds the brain. Most often, it occurs when a weakened area in a blood vessel (aneurysm) on the surface of the brain bursts and leaks. The blood then builds up around the brain and inside the skull increasing pressure on the brain. This can cause brain cell damage, life-long complications, and disabilities.

  • Arteriovenous Malformations

    Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) happen when a group of blood vessels in your body forms incorrectly.

  • Cavernous Malformations

    A cerebral cavernous malformation (CCM) is a collection of small blood vessels (capillaries) in the central nervous system that is enlarged and irregular in structure. In CCM, the walls of the capillaries are thinner than normal, less elastic, and are likely to leak. Cavernous malformations can happen anywhere in the body. They most commonly produce symptoms when they are found in the brain and spinal cord.

  • Spinal Arteriovenous Malformations

    Arteriovenous malformations is the abnormal formation of veins and arteries. It can develop in the fetus or newborn baby.

  • Developmental Venous Anomalies

    A developmental venous anomaly is an unusual arrangement of small veins in the brain or spinal cord. It's a condition you are born with.

  • Cephalic Disorders

    Cephalic disorders affect the central nervous system as it develops. They may also affect the brain and the growth of the skull.

  • Rathke Cleft Cysts

    Rathke cleft cysts are non-cancerous fluid-filled growths that develop between the parts of the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. They develop while a fetus is growing in the womb. A Rathke cleft cyst develops from a piece of the fetus’ developing Rathke pouch, which ultimately becomes part of the pituitary gland.

  • Injectable Corticosteroids

    Corticosteroid injections can treat a variety of skeletal, muscular, and spinal conditions. Some of these injections can be done by your health care provider during a routine clinic visit; others require a referral to a pain specialist.

  • Cryotherapy (Cold Therapy) for Pain Management

    When used to treat injuries at home, cryotherapy refers to cold therapy with ice or gel packs that are usually kept in the freezer until needed. These remain one of the simplest, time-tested remedies for managing pain and swelling.

  • Patient-Controlled Analgesia Pumps

    Patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) is a type of pain management that allows you to decide when you will get a dose of pain medicine. You don’t need to wait for a nurse, and you can get smaller doses of pain medicine more often.

  • Gliomas

    A glioma is a type of brain tumor that originates from glial cells, which help support the function of the other main brain cell type—the neuron.

  • Skull Base Chordoma

    A chordoma is a form of bone cancer that can occur anywhere along the length of the spine, from the base of the skull to the lower back.

  • Paranasal Sinus Tumors

    A paranasal sinus tumor is a cancer that has grown inside your sinuses, the open spaces behind your nose.

  • Olfactory Neuroblastoma

    An olfactory neuroblastoma often happens on the roof of the nasal cavity. It involves the cribiform plate, which is a bone between the eyes and located deep in the skull.

  • Basics of Brain Tumors

    Brain tumors form in one of two ways: A primary brain tumor starts with an abnormal brain cell and grows in the brain, and a metastatic tumor starts with an abnormal cell from another organ that makes its way into the brain, stays there, and multiplies to form a tumor made of that kind of cell.

  • Metastatic Brain Tumors

    Sometimes brain tumors start in the lung, breast, skin, kidney, or other body parts and spread to the brain. These are called secondary or metastatic brain tumors.

  • Neurocutaneous Syndromes in Children

    Neurocutaneous syndrome is a broad term for a group of disorders. These diseases are life-long conditions that can cause tumors to grow inside the brain, spinal cord, organs, skin, and skeletal bones.