Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If you have signs and symptoms common to DISH, make an appointment with your family doctor or a general practitioner. After an initial evaluation, your doctor may refer you to a specialist such as a rheumatologist, physiatrist, orthopedic surgeon or neurologist.

Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment and know what to expect from your doctor.

What you can do

  • Write down any symptoms you've been experiencing, and for how long.
  • Write down your key medical information, including any other conditions with which you've been diagnosed as well as the names of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you're taking.
  • Write down any possible causes of injury to the affected area.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time with your doctor. For DISH, some basic questions to ask include:

  • What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
  • Are there other possible causes for my symptoms?
  • What tests do I need?
  • Which treatment do you recommend?
  • What self-care steps can help me manage this condition?
  • Do I need to restrict my activities?
  • How often will you see me for follow-up visits?
  • If the first treatment approach doesn't work, what will you recommend next?
  • I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
  • Are there brochures or other materials I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?

Don't hesitate to ask any other relevant questions you have.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:

  • What are your symptoms, and when did you first notice them?
  • Have your symptoms gotten worse over time?
  • Are your symptoms worse in the morning?
  • Do you have any difficulty moving the affected joint?
  • Are you having difficulty swallowing?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
  • Have you been diagnosed with other medical conditions?
  • What medications do you take or have you taken recently, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and supplements?
  • Have you previously taken any long-term, prescribed medications, such as for acne or other skin conditions?
  • Have you ever had an accident or injury that might have caused trauma to the affected area?

What you can do in the meantime

If you're in pain, try applying heat to the affected area. Over-the-counter pain relievers also may help. Acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen (Aleve, others), may work well. But avoid NSAIDs if you have a history of allergy to these medications or a history of gastrointestinal bleeding.

Nov. 02, 2012