1. Don’t put it off – make that appointment today!
Don’t delay going to the doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of illness.
2. Keep a diary of your symptoms
Have a pen and paper handy in the days leading up to your appointment, so you can make a note of any unusual symptoms or discomfort. This way you can easily provide your doctor with a history of your symptoms—take the diary with you and show it to the doctor or use it to jog your memory. Try to list all the symptoms that you feel or anything anomalous that you’ve experienced. It can also help to list them in different categories, such as: ‘symptoms I experience all the time’, ‘new/recent symptoms’, or ‘other things about my health that are worrying me’.
3. Simplify it!
When describing symptoms you are experiencing, use simple words and phrases that are descriptive, like metaphors or comparisons. For example, a stinging sensation can be described as "pins-and-needles"
Use gestures and don’t be scared to point out the problem area
Help your doctor understand that something is wrong, where it is wrong and even what you think the cause could be.
4. Give lots of details!
It’s important to tell your doctor about anything unusual that you've noticed in relation to your body, your well-being and health—even if you aren't quite sure how to describe it. Here are a few tips to help you describe your symptoms to your doctor as clearly as possible:
Providing your doctor with a history of your symptoms is not as hard as you may think. Just jot down:
How long have you been experiencing these symptoms
When you experience these symptoms
Symptoms you experience all the time
Symptoms you only experience lately
Other health-related issues that are bothering you
Be as clear and complete as possible
Try to list all the symptoms that you experience even if you think it might not be related to nerve impairment or it doesn't look like a symptom to you at all
5. Update your doctor & go for regular check-ups
Some time may pass between your doctor’s visits, so it is important that you remind them of your symptoms – after all, the doctor sees many patients daily and may not recall all your conversations.
Also, between visits, your symptoms may vary, disappear or increase – so you need to update your doctor on that as well, so that your doctor understands how your symptoms changed (if at all) in the time since your last visit.
Your doctor may have prescribed your treatment during your previous visit, which gives you the opportunity to express whether the treatment worked or not. This also allows you to discuss if you experienced any symptoms or adverse effects from the prescribed treatment, which will help your doctor when prescribing future treatments for you.
6. Remember, your doctor is your partner in health
Your doctor is there to work with you in improving your health and quality of life, so it is in your best interest to be truthful and to express your concerns clearly:
Do not be afraid to talk to your doctor openly about your life or to share weird or embarrassing occurrences or experiences – all conversations with your doctor are confidential.
Doctors are used to dealing with different people and have learnt how to deal with different personalities, races, genders, experiences, and backgrounds.
Sometimes all these elements together can provide them with useful information in making a diagnosis.
So, if you think that adding any information about your daily life might be useful, go for it!
It might seem like there’s a lot to think about when you see your doctor about possible nerve damage symptoms, but with a little preparation – with the help of this checklist – it doesn’t have to be stressful.