Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
You'll probably first discuss your concerns with your family doctor, who may decide to refer you to a doctor trained in nervous system conditions (neurologist).
Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot to talk about, it's a good idea to arrive well prepared for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions, and ask if there's anything you need to do in advance.
- Write down a list of your symptoms, noting if there's anything that seems to trigger them or make them better.
- Take a list of all your medications, including any vitamins or supplements.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor, asking about possible causes, treatments and prognosis.
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions ahead of time will help you make the most of your time together. For myoclonus, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms?
- Other than the most likely cause, what are other possible causes for my symptoms?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
- What is the best course of action?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment at any time that you don't understand something.
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?
- Do you have a history of seizures or other neurological conditions?
- Have you been exposed to drugs or chemicals?
- Do you have a family history of myoclonus or epilepsy?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- Myoclonus fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/myoclonus/detail_myoclonus.htm?c. Accessed Sept. 25, 2012.
- Caviness JN. Classification and evaluation of myoclonus. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Sept. 25, 2012.
- Caviness JN. Symptomatic (secondary) myoclonus. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Sept. 25, 2012.
- Caviness JN. Treatment of myoclonus. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Sept. 25, 2012.
- Neurological diagnostic tests and procedures. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/misc/diagnostic_tests.htm. Accessed Sept. 27, 2012.
- Evidente VGH, et al. An update on the neurological applications of botulinum toxins. Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports. 2010;10:338.
- Caviness JN (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale/Phoenix, Ariz. Nov. 19, 2012.