A neurosurgeon is a specialist surgeon who manages conditions of the nervous system. The nervous system includes the brain, spinal cord and nerves in the arms and legs. The latter are referred to as peripheral nerves.

A neurologist is a specialist physician who also manages conditions of the nervous system.

There is some overlap in the conditions that are being treated, but some conditions are treated exclusively by one of these specialists.

Common conditions treated by neurologists:

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Motor Neuron Disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Dementia including Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Cluster headaches
    Migraines

Common conditions treated by neurosurgeons:

  • Benign and malignant tumours of the brain and spine
  • Brain aneurysms
  • Other blood vessel abnormalities of the brain and spine
  • Spinal degenerative disease such as spinal stenosis
  • Lumbar disc herniations
  • Tethered cord syndrome
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Head injuries
  • Spinal injuries

Common conditions treated by both:

  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Hemifacial Spasm
  • Stroke – neurologists tend to have a larger role in management, while neurosurgical management is specific and limited to certain conditions.
  • Idiopathic intracranial hypertension

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, merely an illustrative list of examples.