If you've been diagnosed with a neurological condition, your doctor may recommend a treatment plan that includes medication, rehabilitation and/or surgery. Because your brain and nervous system control how you think, move and function every day, you'll want care from neurological specialists who are trained in the latest techniques and work across disciplines to deliver the best possible outcomes.
Many neurological conditions can be treated with medications and rehabilitation rather than surgery. Here are some examples of nonsurgical therapies that are prescribed for a wide range of neurological disorders.
Have you exhausted all other treatment options? Or has your doctor recommended surgery as the best treatment for your condition? If so, it's natural to feel concerned. Knowing what to expect can help you better prepare—and make the best decisions for your health.
You may feel overwhelmed upon learning you have a neurological disorder. It's important to take care of your emotional and psychological wellbeing, so you'll feel better and stay healthier before and during your treatment. Start with these 5 steps:
- Discuss feelings with friends and loved ones. Remember that fear, sadness and anger are normal.
- Educate yourself about your diagnosis. Understanding your condition will help you better manage your expectations.
- Seek professional counseling from a therapist who's experienced in talking to patients about health conditions.
- Practice stress management. Meditation, yoga, deep breathing and guided imagery can help reduce fear and anxiety about your condition.
- Be patient, and ask others to be patient with you. Your condition may affect your personality and perceptions. Accept that there may be times when you don't feel or behave like yourself.
Do you have a loved one who has been diagnosed with a neurological condition? Here are some helpful tips to support them through treatment and recovery while protecting your own health and wellbeing.
- Go to doctor visits. A neurology patient may be confused, or so distressed that they don't always remember details. You can help by taking notes and asking questions. Write down their appointments, medication schedule and instructions for care.
- Understand the care plan. Get fully briefed on the patient's diagnosis, treatment plan and likely outcome. Ask about their possible cognitive or physical limitations, or changes in behavior.
- Ask about caregiving benefits. Discuss your new role with your employer and how it might affect your performance. Find out what accommodations can be made for you.
- Share the burden. Ask for help and create a formal caregiving schedule that allows time for yourself.
- Communicate. The patient's illness affects everyone around them, so speak with family members and friends about giving and getting support.
- Know the symptoms. Watch for signs that the patient needs emergency help, and prepare a plan of action if that's needed.
- Seek counseling. Get help for yourself if you're feeling depressed, angry, helpless or think you can no longer cope.
It can be challenging for children to watch a parent or loved one go through neurological treatment—or to experience it themselves. Here's how to talk to them about it:
- Educate. Give them information so imaginations don't run wild, and speak in a positive and truthful way using terms they'll understand.
- Update. Keep them in the loop on your progress and any health changes.
- Reassure. If you're in the hospital, let your children know you're OK. If they'll be visiting you, have someone explain in advance what to expect.
- Understand. Children have many reactions to a parent's diagnosis, or their own: Some will cling, others may withdraw. Some behave badly to cover up feelings. Let your child know that you understand and love them.
- Get help. If your child is having trouble coping with their own neurological diagnosis, Cedars-Sinai's free Child Life Services Program provides therapeutic activities and support.
The Neurology and Neurosurgery departments at Cedars-Sinai are advancing knowledge in their fields. Learn about ongoing clinical trials, and find out how research can help improve patient outcomes and quality of life.
Joining a support group is another way to boost physical, social and emotional health when you're dealing with a neurological condition.