Neurology Practice Emphasizes Holistic, Patient-Focused Care: Dr. Sheri Swader Leading the Charge

Neurological disorders affect millions of people and can make everyday tasks cumbersome and scary. From migraines and sleeplessness to epilepsy and back pain, these issues make enjoying life hard.

Since 2008, Southern Healthcare Alliance Neurology has been treating the patient, not the disorder. They stand by their Christian philosophy and holistic approach. When coming to the office, they treat you like family and always listen. They are your partner – educating you on your disease, creating a treatment plan with you, and providing you with care every step of the way.

A Calling to Serve Others

SHA was looking to expand its reach and services, and Dr. Sheri Swader was the perfect fit. Dr. Swader brings more than 15 years of neurological experience to the practice, specializing in epilepsy, neuromuscular conditions, and migrainges as well as general adult neurological disorders. She went to medical school at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences at Little Rock and completed her residency at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She was looking for a small town where she could truly connect with her patients. Because of the town’s hospitality and character and her family ties to Georgia, she and her family moved to Valdosta.

Dr. Swader has always had a passion for medicine and wanted to be a doctor for as long as she can remember. She credited her uncle’s neurophysiology technician clinic as having a big influence on her and piquing her interest in EEGs, synapses, and neurons. As a child, family would find her in the library on the weekend studying how the brain works.

Dr. Swader was drawn to figuring out why neurological illnesses occurred and how they were making everyday life a struggle for those around her, which led her to enroll in medical school.

“During my third year of medical school, I started my clinical rotations and kept a notebook of my most interesting patients,” Dr. Swader said. “In my fourth year, I had to pick my acting internship and went to review my notes to decide. I noticed, to my surprise, that all of my favorite patients in my notebook had neuroligcal illnesses. I knew this was going to be my life’s work.”

As a neurologist and medical care provider, Dr. Swader believes her role is to give the patient an improved quality of life, listen to their goals, and help them accomplish that.
“There are several technological advances in medicine and pain medications that can help treat neurological illness,” Dr. Swader said. “But the patient may not have the funds or the need for invasive surgery, multiple medications, or want to deal with their side effects. They may just want to be able to hold their grandchild or have a day without a debilitating migraine.”

SHA and Dr. Swader’s goal is to truly connect with all of their patients, creating a strong relationship so they can get to the root of their neurogolical conditions and treat the issues.

“We could just take care of their symptom, but we wouldn’t be doing our job” Dr. Swader said. “They would be back again with pain and discomfort, and we don’t want that. We want to help them enjoy their lives again.”

A Holistic Approach

SHA patients quickly notice that the practice takes interest in the entire person – their bodies, minds, spirits, and emotions – to help fix the neurological issue. This approach helps create a balance in the person’s life and get them on a path to better health for their entire body. The philosophy is that if people have imbalances (physical, emotional, or spiritual) in their lives, it can negatively affect their overall health.

“Using this approach makes a big difference in how we treat our patients, which makes an even bigger difference in the patient’s (and family’s) life,” Dr. Swader said. “By taking the time and putting the personal touch back into medicine, we see real improvements in our patients’ health. Making adjustments to lifestyle or just praying with them plays an important role that can help reduce the occurrence of their problems.”

Instead of using an alogorithm or checklist of symptoms, SHA brings the personl touch back to medicine to find the underlying cause and work to cure it. Neurological disorders can be caused by many factors, and lots of patients visit the practice to seek relief for the pain they have been dealing with for years. Dr. Swader and the team at SHA work individually with each patient to assess their goals and to create a treatment plan, together. The treatment plan may involve medication, therapy, or surgery as well as making modifications to the patient’s lifestyle to avoid reoccurrence and lower the risk of injury during daily routines.

Southern Healthcare Alliance Neurology diagnoses and treats patients experiencing a variety of neurological disorders including:

• Migraines and headaches
• Seizures and tremors
• Neck pain
• Sciatica and back pain
• Balance and falls (dizziness)
• Numbness and tingling
• Memory loss ( Alzheimer’s)
• Post stroke care

5 Common Neurological Disorders

This chronic neurological disorder’s main symptom is frequent headaches. Intensity of the headaches can be moderate to severe, and they often last for two days or more. Symptoms include:
• Frequent nausea or vomiting
• Seeing spots or flashing lights
• Sensitivity to sounds, lights, and smells
• Trouble speaking

Seizures are changes in the brain’s electrical activity. This change can cause dramatic, noticeable symptoms or it may not cause any symptoms. Types of seizures include non-epileptic seizures, partial seizures, and generalized seizures. Symptoms include:
• Uncontrollable muscle spasms
• Drooling or frothing at the mouth
• Sudden, rapid eye movements
• Loss of control of bladder or bowel function

Nerve-Based Pain
Sensory nerves relay information from your skin and muscles back to your spinal cord and brain. The information is then processed to let you feel pain and other sensations. Symptoms of nerve damage include:
• Pain
• Sensitivity
• Numbness
• Tingling or prickling
• Burning
• Problems with positional awareness

Balance disorders make you feel dizzy or unsteady. When standing, sitting, or lying down, you may feel like you’re moving, spinning, or floating. When walking, you may feel like you’re tipping over. Symptoms include:
• Dizziness or a spinning sensation
• Staggering when you try to walk
• Lightheadedness, faintness, or a floating sensation
• Blurred vision
• Confusion or disorientation

A sudden stroke occurs when the blood flow to the brain stops, further damaging brain cells. The two kinds of strokes, hemorrhagic and ischemic, are caused by blood clots or blocking of the blood vessel. Symptoms include:
• Dizziness
• Weakness or sudden numbness of the arm, face, or leg
• Severe headache without any reason
• Trouble understanding or speaking
• Loss of balance or coordination

Written by: Caila Anderson

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