Your doctor will review their patient’s symptoms, physical examination,
test results and any other relevant information that was discussed during
their appointment, Williams says.
Your neurologist will then map out a “curated, personalized, individualized
approach to their care, to their treatment or intervention,” Williams says.
Treatments included in a personalized care plan will vary depending on
your specific diagnosis, severity of symptoms and individual needs. However,
common treatments that may be prescribed as part of a neurological care
plan may include:
Your doctor will want a full picture of your medical history. The best
way to ensure your neurologist has the complete picture is to make sure
all of your medical records have been sent to your doctor's office
ahead of time. Not only will this give the full picture, but it can help
avoid duplicate testing and speed up the process of getting a diagnosis.
This includes gathering any past test results, imaging scans like CT scans
or MRIs, surgeries and major illnesses. Even something that seems insignificant
to your visit may provide valuable information to your neurologist.
Make a list of symptoms.
You should write down any symptoms you're experiencing, even if they
seem minor or unrelated. Your neurologist will want to know additional
details like when your symptoms started, their frequency and duration
and if you've noticed any triggers or patterns.
Bring a list of medications and supplements.
A list of any and all medications, vitamins and supplements you're
taking will help ensure nothing is missed. Be sure to include dosage and
frequency as well.
Your neurologist needs to know what you're taking for two reasons:
They could be contributing to or causing your symptoms, or they could
interact with some neurological medications.
Write down a list of questions.
Doctor's appointments go quickly, and writing down your questions in
advance of the appointment can help ensure no questions are left unanswered.
Your questions likely vary greatly depending on your individual symptoms
or diagnosis, but examples may include:
- Are there any major red flags with my condition I should be aware of?
- What are potential side effects of my treatment and/or medication?
- What can I do to monitor my condition at home?
- How often should I follow up with you?
- What can I expect at my next appointment?
Bring a friend or family member.
A visit to the neurologist can be overwhelming – particularly if
you're facing a neurological illness that is associated with cognitive
issues. Having a loved one with you to take notes and be your advocate
during the appointment can be helpful logistically to keep information
organized. Receiving a diagnosis for a neurological disorder can also
be a lot to process, so having a loved one available may provide emotional support.
There are a range of subspecialty areas in the field of neurology, such as:
- Pediatric neurology.
- Geriatric neurology.
- Sports neurology.
- Nerve specialist.
- Sleep medicine.
- Specializing in particular disorders, like epilepsy, headaches/migraines
or multiple sclerosis.
Williams is a practicing neurologist who subspecialized in sports neurology,
“which is a relatively new subspecialty in neurology that’s
involved in evaluating and treating injuries that can occur to the nervous
system through participation in sports.”
He often sees concussions or head injuries, but he also sees spinal cord
injuries or peripheral nerve injuries. “In addition to treating
injuries, sports neurologists will often assist people with other neurologic
conditions in improving their function,” Williams says. “For
instance, we know people who have Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s
will benefit greatly from exercise and from physical activity that really
improves their symptoms and prolongs deterioration.”