Chronic Neurological Conditions

There are more than 600 recognized neurological conditions, including common diagnoses such as Alzheimer’s, Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, Migraine, or Multiple Sclerosis. India has roughly 30 million people with various neurological disorders.


There are more than 600 recognised neurological conditions which vary in the type of
symptoms experienced, and the acute, chronic, remissive or degenerative nature of the
condition. Some common neurological conditions are listed below.

  • Alzheimers Disease: A progressive, degenerative disorder of the brain resulting ina serious loss of cognitive ability in a previously unimpaired person.
  • Brain Injury: Injury occasioned by a sudden trauma to the brain resulting in mild, moderate, or severe symptoms associated with vision, energy, mood, coordination and concentration loss.
  • Brain and Spinal Cord Tumours: Where abnormal growths of tissue found inside the skull or the spinal column, place pressure on sensitive tissues and impair function. Symptoms of brain tumors may include headaches, vision and hearing impairments; and behavioral, cognitive and motor problems. Spinal cord tumour symptoms include pain, sensory changes, and motor problems.
  • Cerebral Palsy: A condition which affects the way the brain controls the muscles of the body resulting in a permanent, physical condition that affects movement.
  • Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A complex, chronic illness affecting multiple body systems, including the brain and nervous system which can result in fatigue, cognitive impairment and joint pain.
  • Epilepsy: A disorder of the central nervous system characterised by loss of consciousness and convulsions.
  • Guillian Barre Syndrome: A condition in which the person’s nerves are attacked by the body’s own immune system resulting in a spreading paralysis.
  • Headache and Migraine Conditions: Includes, episodic, tension-type headaches, chronic, daily headache and migraine.
  • Huntington’s Disease: A brain disorder causing various part of the brain to deteriorate affecting movement, behaviour and cognition.
  • Learning and Attentional Disorders: Includes Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and other associated learning conditions.
  • Menieres Disease: A disorder of the inner ear that affects hearing and balance.
  • Motor Neurone Disease: A progressive, degenerative disorder that affects the nerve cells controlling the muscles, resulting in a weakening of the muscles and other important functions of the body.
  • Multiple Sclerosis: A chronic condition whereby the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks myelin in the body which may result in impairment of motor, sensory and cognitive functions.
  • Muscular Dystrophy: A neuromuscular, genetic condition resulting in the progressive deterioration of muscle strength and function.
  • Myasthenia Gravis: A chronic, neuromuscular condition resulting in muscle weakness and fatigue.
  • Neurofibromatosis: A genetic, neurological condition with physical and cognitive effects, characterised by the growth of benign tumors under the skin.
  • Parkinson’s Disease: A progressive, degenerative condition of the central nervous
    system that often impairs motor skills, speech, and other functions.
  • Peripheral Neuropathy: A condition resulting from damage to the nerves of the peripheral nervous system resulting in muscle weakness, cramps and sometimes loss of balance and coordination.
  • Restless Legs Syndrome: A neurological based disorder characterised by an overwhelming urge to move the legs, usually caused by uncomfortable or unpleasant sensations in the legs.
  • Spina Bifida: A malformation of the spinal column present at birth in which one or more vertebrae fail to close completely resulting in mild to severe physical and mental disabilities.
  • Stroke: (Also known as Cerebrovascular Disease) – Occurs when the supply of blood to the brain is suddenly disrupted resulting in temporary or permanent disability.
  • Tourette Syndrome: Tourette Syndrome is characterised by involuntary, irresistible body movements and vocalisations. It is complex and individual in its effect and often involves behavioural difficulties.
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia: A condition that affects the trigeminal nerve in the head resulting in intense facial pain.
Man's hand massaging the other|| Getty Images | © Getty Images

Man's hand massaging the other|| Getty Images


Neurological disorders can be thought of in many ways, for example:

  • Diseases caused by faulty genes, such as Huntington's disease and muscular dystrophy
  • Problems with the way the nervous system develops, such as spina bifida
  • Degenerative diseases, where nerve cells are damaged or die, such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease
  • Diseases of the blood vessels that supply the brain, such as stroke
  • Injuries to the spinal cord and brain
  • Seizure disorders, such as epilepsy
  • Cancer, such as brain tumors
  • Infections, such as meningitis

Neurological disorders can be categorized according to the primary location affected, the
primary type of dysfunction involved, or the primary type of cause. The broadest division
is between central nervous system disorders and peripheral nervous system disorders.

The Merck Manual lists brain, spinal cord and nerve disorders in the following
overlapping categories:


  • Brain damage according to cerebral lobe (see also 'lower' brain areas such as basal ganglia, cerebellum, brainstem):
    • Frontal lobe damage
    • Parietal lobe damage
    • Temporal lobe damage
    • Occipital lobe damage
  • Brain dysfunction according to type:
    • Aphasia (language)
    • Dysgraphia (writing)
    • Dysarthria (speech)
    • Apraxia (patterns or sequences of movements)
    • Agnosia (identifying things or people)
    • Amnesia (memory)
  • Spinal cord disorders (see spinal pathology, injury, inflammation)
  • Peripheral neuropathy and other Peripheral nervous system disorders
  • Cranial nerve disorder such as Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Autonomic nervous system disorders such as dysautonomia, Multiple System Atrophy
  • Seizure disorders such as epilepsy
  • Movement disorders of the central and peripheral nervous system such as Parkinson's disease, Essential tremor, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Tourette's Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis and various types of Peripheral Neuropathy
  • Sleep disorders such as Narcolepsy
  • Migraines and other types of Headache such as Cluster Headache and Tension Headache
  • Lower back and neck pain (see Back pain)
  • Central neuropathy (see Neuropathic pain)
  • Neuropsychiatric illnesses: diseases and/or disorders with psychiatric features associated with known nervous system injury, underdevelopment, biochemical, anatomical, or electrical malfunction, and/or disease pathology. Examples include ADHD, Autism, Tourette's and some cases of obsessive compulsive disorder, as well as the neurobehavioral symptoms of degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease, essential tremor, Huntington's disease, Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis and organic psychosis.

Many of the diseases and disorders listed above have neurosurgical treatments available
(e.g. Tourette's Syndrome, Parkinson's disease, Essential tremor and Obsessive
compulsive disorder).

  • Delirium and dementia such as Alzheimer's disease
  • Dizziness and vertigo
  • Stupor and coma
  • Head injury
  • Stroke (CVA, cerebrovascular attack)
  • Tumors of the nervous system (e.g. cancer)
  • Multiple sclerosis and other demyelinating diseases
  • Infections of the brain or spinal cord (including meningitis)
  • Prion diseases (a type of infectious agent)
  • Complex regional pain syndrome (a chronic pain condition)



The specific causes of neurological problems vary, but can include genetic disorders,
congenital abnormalities or disorders, infections, lifestyle or environmental health
problems including malnutrition, and brain injury, spinal cord injury, nerve injury and
gluten sensitivity.


Interventions for neurological disorders include preventative measures, lifestyle changes,
physiotherapy or other therapy, neurorehabilitation, pain management, medication,
operations performed by neurosurgeons or a specific diet.

Statistics in India

The prevalence rates of the spectrum of neurological disorders from different regions of
India ranged from 967–4,070 with a mean of 2394 per 100000 population. This provides a
rough estimate of over 30 million people with neurological disorders (excluding
neuroinfections and traumatic injuries). Prevalence and incidence rates of common
disorders including epilepsy, stroke, Parkinson’s disease and tremors determined
through population‑based surveys show considerable variation across different regions
of the country.

References for More Reading and Understanding/Sources

Report an error? Report now.