A nerve specialist, more commonly referred to as a neurologist, is a highly trained medical professional that specializes in the brain and nervous system. Conditions treated include stroke, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and brain tumors. Choosing the best neurologist involves finding one within a reasonable driving distance from your home; asking friends, family and other doctors for recommendations; and deciding with whom you are most comfortable.
The nerve specialist field is fairly small compared to other types of practices, so it may be difficult to find one in your immediate area. If you live in or near a large city, you will likely have many more choices than if you live in a rural area. Before looking for a nerve specialist, decide how far you are willing to travel to see one. If your condition makes it difficult to drive and you need to have friends or family provide transportation, they should be part of this decision. Once you have determined your maximum radius, make a list of all the nerve specialists in that area.
If you have health insurance, pare down the list to just those who accept it, as some doctors only accept certain types of insurance. Try calling your insurer's help line to ask if they can give you a list of doctors in your area, or check doctors' webpages to see if they list the types of insurance they accept. If neither of these options work for you, call each potential specialist and ask his or her receptionist if the doctor accepts your insurance. This last method can be a little time-consuming, though, especially if you have a long list, as neurologists’ offices are often very busy and it can take some time to get through on the phone.
Once you have narrowed down your nerve specialist choices by geographical area and insurance policy, the process of choosing the best one becomes a matter of personal preference. Ask your family members and friends if they have ever been treated by any of the doctors on your list, and if so, whether they had positive experiences. Ask your regular physician for a recommendation as well. Online websites dedicated to rating doctors can also be good sources of information, but keep in mind that those sites are usually not moderated and anyone can leave feedback, even if they’ve never met the doctors in question.
If possible, try to schedule consultations with a few different doctors to get a feel for their personalities. Unfortunately, this is not always possible because nerve specialists often book appointments months in advance and may not have openings unless you are planning to become a patient. If you do end up with a nerve specialist that you feel isn’t meeting your needs, you have the right to switch doctors or seek a second opinion. It is important that you feel comfortable with whichever doctor you choose.