Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, you may then be referred to a doctor who specializes in nervous system disorders (neurologist).
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and know what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent illnesses.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you're taking, along with information on the dose that you take.
- Ask a family member or friend to come with you, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all of the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time with your doctor. For dystonia, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- What caused my dystonia to occur?
- What kinds of tests do I need? Do these tests require any special preparation?
- Is dystonia temporary or long lasting?
- What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
- What types of side effects can I expect from treatment?
- Are there any alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- Will these treatments keep me from being disabled?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
- Are there any activity restrictions that I need to follow?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing me?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Does anything seem to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- Has anyone in your family ever been diagnosed with dystonia?
- Dystonias fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/dystonias/detail_dystonias.htm. Accessed Feb. 14, 2012.
- Comella C. Classification and evaluation of dystonia. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Feb. 13, 2012.
- Phukan J, et al. Primary dystonia and dystonia-plus syndromes: Clinical characteristics, diagnosis, and pathogenesis. The Lancet Neurology. 2011;10:1074.
- Dystonias. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/print/sec16/ch221/ch221c.html. Accessed Feb. 13, 2012.
- Neurological diagnostic tests and procedures. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/misc/diagnostic_tests.htm. Accessed Feb. 14, 2012.
- Comella C. Treatment of dystonia. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Feb. 13, 2012.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2012: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05611-3..00013-6--sc0135&isbn=978-0-323-05611-3&uniqId=317541266-3#4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05611-3..00013-6--sc0135. Accessed Feb. 14, 2012.
- Ozelius LJ, et al. Milestones in dystonia. Movement Disorders. 2011;26:1106.
- Complementary therapy. Dystonia Medical Research Foundation. http://www.dystonia-foundation.org/pages/complementary_therapy/156.php. Accessed Feb. 14, 2012.
- Terms related to complementary and alternative medicine. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/providers/camterms.htm. Accessed Feb. 15, 2012.
- Yoga for health: An introduction. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/yoga/introduction.htm. Accessed Feb. 15, 2012.