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Establishing a comfortable, open and productive relationship with your health care providers is important for your overall care. Different patients work with different types of doctors to manage their Parkinson’s: some choose to be treated by a movement disorder specialist; some work with a general neurologist; some stay with their primary care physician. In choosing any health care provider, your major considerations should be how much they know about Parkinson’s and how well they listen.
Because Parkinson’s involves a wide range of symptoms including movement- and non-movement-related issues, over the course of your life with Parkinson’s you may wish to work with a variety of health care providers in addition to the doctor who primarily treats your Parkinson’s. For example, depending on the particular range of symptoms, some patients may find it helpful to include a physical therapist to help address painful muscle stiffness, or a therapist who can provide strategies for coping with depression. Whether over time or for brief periods, working with a team of providers (sometimes called “allied care providers”) in addition to your physician can help you better manage your Parkinson’s care.
It’s been shown that early involvement by other health care professionals such as an occupational or speech therapist may help prevent or delay future limitations that can be caused by Parkinson’s disease. These relationships can help you manage your functionality and maintain a safe environment as your Parkinson’s progresses.
It is crucial for any provider to understand that no two cases of Parkinson’s are alike, and to listen to you about your specific concerns. The right doctor will take the time to discuss your symptoms and how they impact you and recommend a treatment regimen with you in mind.Read about a comprehensive care team