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We answer all types of Neurology/Neurological questions about the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. Include your age, sex, current meds, and known diagnoses, upcoming/completed appointments, tests, or procedures. We are not physicians. We help explain medical terminology and give support.
Depending on your symptoms and what the doctor observes (signs) or based on the doctor's hunch or suspicions, you may need additional tests such as EEG (brain waves), Nerve Conduction, EMG (tests limbs), MRI of brain or spine, or CAT scan of brain or spine. Each of these tests are fairly simple for most people. Some people can't lie flat; they will put a wedge under your legs to make you more comfortable. Allow at least 30 minutes pre-test and 45mins to 1 hour for the test. Each MRI runs 30mins to 1 hour (generally 45 mins) so you'll be there for a while.
The technicians cannot tell you results. So, don't ask. You'll only get a stone-walling answer, or you'll get the "we can't tell you" lecture.
Typically, results go to the doctor's office within a day or two. BUT almost always, patients must do a return appointment before hearing the results. Return appointments may be several weeks apart.
Don't expect a call from the office. They don't call patients to give test results--even if something is "seen". The only exception if if a test showed a critical, life-threatening condition -- for example, an aneurism. So if you've been suffering in pain from a herniated disk, expect to suffer a few more weeks until your follow-up appointment. This is SOP: Standard operating procedure -- the status quo.
If a problem is "seen", don't panic. Many people have changes shown on tests but not all changes are significant or require additional medical care. Some conditions are not severe enough. Some conditions are unclear or must develop further before an accurate diagnosis is made.
Lastly, don't expect too much from your neuro Dr. Be realistic. Know that the Dr's time is limited. Expect a fast-in/fast-out appointment; be prepared so you can use the limited time wisely.View Thread
You've waited weeks, or months, to get an appointment to see a neurologist. You're upset, nervous, maybe scared. You don't know what to expect - what kind of exam will the doctor do? What kind of tests might you have?
Preparation: Luckily, there are no medication preps before seeing a neuro, unless you are having tests with contrast dye before seeing the neuro.
Request all previous test results and obtain films from out-patient test locations, hospitals, and from your doctor. Take the films and interpretation papers with you.
Write a short list describing each symptom. Write it so you don't forget something. Write a few questions.
Basic neurology exams are straight-forward. You will first talk about your problem. This may be very quick, so have your thoughts organized. Refer to your written notes. Some Drs ask questions during the physical exam.
In the basic exam, the Dr will test your reflexes with a small rubber "hammer". You only need to relax for these tests. Your legs, arms, hands and feet should quickly "jerk" when the hammer is used; this is normal. The Dr evaluates different aspects of each reflex. Don't try to make reflexes *seem* better or worse-- they are what they are, and are important indicators for disease or health.
You may be asked to perform certain tasks, such as walk on your toes or walk on your heels. Although it seems silly, these are also important indicators.
You may be asked to follow a pen with your eyes; or to touch the doctor's finger with your finger. You may have to touch each of your fingers to your thumb, as fast as you can. These evaluate the normal nerve pathways.
The doctor may lightly prick your skin with a straight pin or open pin, or run a pen or semi-sharp object across your skin while your eyes are closed or open. "Feel that? Feel that? Feel that..." you'll be asked. Answer honestly. This test is evaluated against other tests in the office, so the results cannot be "forged" or altered. If a patient lied and said she had no feeling anywhere, the Dr can tell from other parts of the exam as to whether feeling is present or not present.View Thread
Patients often wait weeks or months to see a specialist, or get a long-awaited for test. MRIs, CATs and numerous blood or neuro tests leave most of us feeling uneasy and eager to hear the results. But what if you don't understand the words, or the results? Just what does it mean if a doctor writes, "Reflexes grossly intact?" Or, how big is too big when a test shows "something" but no one explains what the "something" is?
Too often, doctors only say, "There's nothing to worry about" but don't explain WHY you shouldn't be concerned. Just when are test results "really something?" or "really nothing"?
Let people on this board help decipher and explain the medical terminology used on test results. Let us help you understand some reasons that doctors may not be as concerned as you think they should be. And, let us help point you toward other possibilities that you can then discuss with your doctors.
Post anytime. Someone will reply as soon as possible. Note, however, this is an unstaffed board so a reply may take a few days.View Thread
Every person with a neurological condition or disorder started out with a symptom that hurt, jerked (tremor or worse), or that just was unusual and didn't make sense! But, sometimes our bodies have strange symptoms without it meaning there is a verifiable disorder or condition.
So, how do you cope with strange symptoms that interfere in some way with daily life?
We are peers who have been through the unknown of mysterious symptoms, or ones that doctors couldn't figure out. Come talk here and let's help each other figure out, "What next?"View Thread
Sometimes, one or a few symptoms do NOT indicate a serious condition or disease. Sometimes, the "picture" of symptoms hasn't developed enough for a doctor to make a final diagnosis. Other times, patients believe they aren't being heard. Sometimes, they are right.
If you have concerns and feel your doctor isn't listening to you, then you may need to learn how to discuss with your doctor your concerns and to find out why your doctor thinks your symptoms are "nothing".
More importantly, you need support to know when to push for a second opinion.... and when you might need to accept what the doctor says.
We can listen to your concerns and give you ideas about how you might proceed.View Thread
When patients have what may be neurological symptoms, especially in the head, spine, or affecting the ability to function, it's hard to not panic! "Do you think it's brain cancer?" was a question often heard on the old message board. Whether it turns out to be a neurological disorder or not, it's important to stay calm despite the unknown. During pre-diagnosis, you can research information, talk to others who also have symptoms, and decide how you'll approach this time of doctor appointments, tests, and hopefully, a diagnosis.
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