Are you worried about your initial neuropathy appointment? Not sure what you need to bring or what your provider is going to tell you?
Reviewing your medical history and creating a treatment plan should be a positive experience. With that in mind, here are some tips to help you prepare for your first visit.
The first step is compiling a comprehensive medical history so your provider has all the information they need to create the best treatment plan for your situation.
Medical File– A copy of your medical file will allow your new provider to see what tests and treatments have been done and their results, what therapies showed promise, and what they want to rule out going forward.
If you cannot provide a full copy, at least having approximate dates of past major diagnoses, surgeries, or injuries is helpful.
Symptom History– Your provider needs to see the big picture to ensure the best possible results. Have you experienced any of the following in the last few months?
- Loss of balance or tripping
- Muscle weakness
- Tingling, burning, cold, buzzing, or pain in hands or feet
- Persistent muscle cramping
- Limited mobility or dexterity in hands or feet
Up-to-Date Medication List– When assembling your list of medications, please include the name, dosage, frequency, and any side effects they cause. Your provider must also know any vitamins, supplements, and herbs you take because they can interact with each other or any additional recommendations they may give.
Accident or Surgical History– Since neuropathy can be caused by trauma either at the time of the accident or down the road as the injured area deteriorates, knowing where you’ve been hurt will help your provider narrow the search for a solution.
- A herniated disk in your back could collapse over time and pinch nerves.
- Scar tissue continues to grow after the initial trauma and impedes blood flow to the nerve.
- Spinal surgeries or surgeries on the knees, legs, or feet can result in some complications with the nerves, so having a complete history of past procedures is important
Exposure– Sometimes, exposure to toxins, chemotherapy, or radiation will cause neuropathy. Knowing the cause of nerve damage helps the provider set up a treatment protocol.
Family History– Just as we can inherit eye or hair color from our parents and grandparents, we can inherit health problems or predispositions that make certain health problems more likely than for others in the general population. Understanding if any of your close relatives suffered from nerve conditions will help your provider further narrow down the cause of your pain.
Be prepared to answer some questions about your lifestyle choices. Your provider isn’t trying to get personal or make judgments, but to understand all the factors leading to your pain. Questions that may come up include:
Drinking– Excessive alcohol use can cause nerve damage, so understanding your history with alcohol is essential.
Smoking– Similarly, smoking can exacerbate neuropathy symptoms. Smoking restricts blood vessels, cutting off your nerves’ oxygen and nutrient supply.
Diet– Nutritional deficiencies can cause neuropathy. Additionally, some foods make neuropathy symptoms worse. Your provider can provide specifics on how to improve your diet to reverse your neuropathy or lessen symptoms.
Sleep– Everything gets more difficult if you aren’t getting adequate sleep.
Exercise– Several aspects of neuropathy are affected by your exercise habits. Regular exercise can improve circulation and lessen the pain when your nerves have all the nutrition they need to function correctly.
Weight gain, on the other hand, can increase pressure on nerves. While weight gain is not a simple problem and may stem from multiple factors, including hormone imbalances, injuries to joints, difficulty breathing, and other health conditions, a sedentary lifestyle only worsens neuropathy and weight gain.
A sedentary lifestyle will also put prolonged pressure on specific nerves like your sciatic. Regular exercise and getting up periodically throughout the day will allow these nerves to recover.
A List of Questions
If you have any questions about the treatment you have received or therapy going forward, now is an excellent time to ask.
Keep a running list of questions in the days leading up to your appointment to ensure you learn everything you need. That way, you don’t get home from the appointment only to realize you forgot to ask something important.
That’s not to say you can’t call your provider with other questions. Still, your consultation appointment is time dedicated to you and your treatment. It also allows you to ask follow-up questions to clarify information as you get answers.
An Open Mind
Last, but not least, come to your appointment with an open mind. Even if past treatments have failed to improve your symptoms, your new provider may have different training, experience, and tools that your previous doctor couldn’t access.
Scientists and doctors conduct new studies every year that bring them closer to solutions.
To Sum Up
While you might be nervous about your first meeting with a new provider, some prep work will lay a strong foundation for successful communication and collaboration with your healthcare team. Together you can move forward toward greater comfort and pain relief.
DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE
The information, including but not limited to, texts, graphics, images, and other material contained in this article are for informational purposes only. None of the material mentioned is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new care regimen. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article.