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Multiple Sclerosis (MS) - When To Call a Doctor

Who to see

Health professionals who may be involved in evaluating symptoms of MS and treating the condition include:

  • Family doctors or internists. Consult your doctor when symptoms first start. He or she will refer you to a neurologist if needed. If you have MS, your family doctor or internist can treat your general health problems even if you see a neurologist for MS treatment.
  • Neurologists. A neurologist can decide whether your symptoms are caused by MS. He or she can also help you decide what may be the best treatment for your condition.

Many university medical centers and large hospitals have MS clinics or centers staffed by neurologists and other health professionals who specialize in diagnosing and treating MS. They may be able to provide the most thorough evaluation.

If you have been diagnosed with MS, at some point you may need to seek the help of:

  • A physical therapist, to assist with exercise to maintain body strength and flexibility and deal with movement problems.
  • An occupational therapist, to identify ways of accomplishing daily activities if MS has caused any physical limitations.
  • A speech-language pathologist, to improve speech, chewing, and breathing if MS has affected the muscles of the face and throat.
  • A physiatrist, to help with managing pain, maintaining strength, and adapting to physical disability.
  • A psychologist or psychiatrist, to evaluate and treat depression, anxiety or other mood disorders, and problems with memory and concentration if these develop.
  • A pain management specialist, to help with any significant chronic pain that MS may cause. A pain specialist, often as part of a pain clinic, can help find ways of reducing pain when possible and dealing with pain that doesn't go away.
  • A neurosurgeon, to do surgery for severe tremors or spasticity.

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 11, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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