what to expect at first neuro visit

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what to expect at first neuro visit

Postby fallinggirl » Fri Jul 13, 2012 6:17 pm

Hi! I have a neurologist (MS specialist) appt. on Monday. What do I expect to take place at this first visit? I have had all blood tests done to rule out the mimics, I've had an MRI done (showed white matter only), etc.
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Re: what to expect at first neuro visit

Postby Sparky10 » Fri Jul 13, 2012 8:04 pm

Hi fallinggirl! I hope your appointment is helpful.

Hopefully the neurologist has already seen your MRI images. If not you might be told to come back after they've been reviewed, or you might get lucky and have them reviewed while you're there.

You should get basic muscle and reflex exams. This involves push/pull testing on your extremities, poking with mildly sharp instruments and tuning forks, and thumbnails run up against what should be very uncomfortable areas (the bottom of your foot is the one I remember the most). You should be asked to walk in hopefully a longer distance than the area of the tiny exam room. Walking 3 steps then turning around, IMO (In My Opinion) just isn't far enough.

You should be asked about any incidents that may have occurred in times previous. Tell the neurologist about things that seem inconsequential to you. Stuff like a numb spot you couldn't figure out, some weird visual disturbance, your leg swinging out when you walked, even something as simple as confusion about words or memory.

If a neurologist suspects MS, s/he might call for further tests. Some neuros don't diagnose by MRI alone. Further testing might involve a lumbar puncture (spinal tap), or Evoked Potentials. There are other more involved tests that aren't as common.

I was diagnosed by MRI and reported past vague symptoms, over 12 years ago. I hope things go smoothly for you you, fallinggirl! Maybe you don't have MS. But if you do, this is a great website to learn from!
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Re: what to expect at first neuro visit

Postby lyndacarol » Sat Jul 14, 2012 9:22 am

To Sparky's great description, and especially this part: "You should be asked about any incidents that may have occurred in times previous. Tell the neurologist about things that seem inconsequential to you. Stuff like a numb spot you couldn't figure out, some weird visual disturbance, your leg swinging out when you walked, even something as simple as confusion about words or memory."

I would add: In advance of your appointment, think about and WRITE DOWN your past and present symptoms. I never remember everything I want to say at the time – too nervous, I guess. I also find it saves time simply to hand him a paper (and time is PRECIOUS in the doctor's office!)
All the best to you.
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Re: what to expect at first neuro visit

Postby MarkLavelle » Sat Jul 14, 2012 10:24 am

+1 on all the advice above, and I'll raise them one: Bring along a spouse/parent/sibling (someone that you're close with). My wife takes notes and asks questions (ex-reporter), but even just a second set of ears and someone to lean on are valuable, especially if you get upsetting news...

RRMS dx 3/3/11; Copaxone since 12/1/11
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Re: what to expect at first neuro visit

Postby euphoniaa » Sun Jul 15, 2012 4:54 am

Hi fallinggirl,

With apologies to all for resorting to the often less than scientific vagaries of a Wikipedia post :-D , it does have a short, comprehensive explanation of basic neurological tests that doctors use in their offices and what they're trying to evaluate from doing them.

Here's the link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurological_examination

Good luck, and I hope you find answers and relief at your neuro appointment!

P.S. One question: What do you mean by your MRI showing "white matter only?" Were there lesions?
Dx'd with MS & HNPP (hereditary peripheral neuropathy) 7/03 but must have had MS for 30 yrs before that. I've never taken meds for MS or MS symptoms except 1 yr experiment on LDN. (I found diet, exercise, sleep, humor, music help me the most.)
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