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A Snapshot of Your Healthcare Team When You Have MS

Part of the Multiple Sclerosis For Dummies Cheat Sheet

A diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) means developing a strong relationship with your doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. They can work with you to manage your symptoms, slow the disease course, and cope with day-to-day challenges. The following are the important members of your healthcare team:

  • Neurologist (or in some situations it may be a nurse practitioner or physician assistant): Diagnoses and treats MS and other neurologic diseases.

  • Nurse: Provides education and support for all treatment issues.

  • Primary care physician: Manages non-MS health issues and preventive care.

  • Rehabilitation specialists: Promote independence, safety, and quality of life. For example, consider the following:

    • Physiatrist: A physician specializing in rehabilitation medicine.

    • Physical therapist: Promotes strength, mobility, and balance through exercise and training in the use of mobility aids.

    • Occupational therapist: Promotes function in activities of daily living via energy management, assistive technology, and environmental modifications (may also treat cognitive symptoms).

    • Speech/language pathologist: Diagnoses and treats problems with voice quality, speech, and swallowing (may also treat cognitive symptoms).

    • Vocational rehabilitation counselor: Assists with career planning and retraining.

  • Mental health professionals: Provide diagnosis, treatment, and support for a wide range of emotional issues, as well as education for stress management, goal-setting, and problem-solving strategies.

    • Psychiatrist: A physician specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health problems.

    • Psychotherapist (psychologist, social worker, counselor): Provides counseling, information, and support for individuals and families.

    • Neuropsychologist: Diagnoses and treats cognitive symptoms.

  • Additional medical specialists: Provide specialized expertise in medical areas that may be impacted by MS or are of particular interest to folks with MS.

    • Neuroophthalmologist: A physician specializing in neurologically related visual symptoms.

    • Urologist: A physician specializing in urinary problems and male sexual function.

    • *Obstetrician/gynecologist: A physician specializing in women’s reproductive care.

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