How to Find the Right Doctor For Fibromyalgia
Updated: May 13
One of the most significant challenges people with Fibromyalgia face is access to appropriate medical consultation and adequate treatment.
Not all primary care doctors are well equipped with knowledge of Fibromyalgia or experience treating Fibromyalgia pain or one of the many other Fibromyalgia symptoms. As a result, you may be dissatisfied with the care you receive and feel left without strategies for symptom relief.
In addition, your doctor may not understand Fibromyalgia well, may not have had Fibromyalgia patients before, and may not be familiar with all the different ways to treat Fibromyalgia.
Although more than 10 million Americans live with Fibromyalgia, according to health.com, 25% of people with fibromyalgia feel that their doctor doesn't consider their condition "very legitimate".
Read more ► Is Fibromyalgia Real?
It's essential to find a doctor that can support you in managing Fibromyalgia. Suppose you think you're not getting your needs met with your medical professional. In that case, you might want to consider finding another doctor, or more than one doctor, to manage your Fibromyalgia symptoms.
Here are some healthcare practitioners to consider:
Board-certified rheumatologists practice western medicine and are perhaps the best specialist to visit if you think you have Fibromyalgia but don't yet have a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. They are doctors who deal with rheumatic diseases, from rheumatoid arthritis to other autoimmune disorders.
Rheumatologists are often the best doctor to diagnose Fibromyalgia. First, they will run tests to rule out rheumatic diseases. They may also recommend medications to help relieve various Fibromyalgia symptoms following diagnosis. Some rheumatologists will also give you stress relief and exercise prescriptions to lower your symptoms' intensity.
Rheumatologists are generally in high demand, and appointments are limited in availability. They may also not spend time listening to your concerns and educating you on the disease. However, if you are a firm believer in Western medicine, this is the type of doctor you will want to try to get in to see.
Neurologists can help rule out any neurological condition causing your symptoms and may diagnose Fibromyalgia. Even if you already have a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, you may want to see a neurologist for treatment and management of symptoms.
Neurologists diagnose and treat symptoms including, but not limited to, headaches, migraines, brain fog, other pain issues, tingling, pins and needles, or burning in hands and feet.
A way to help control your Fibromyalgia pain is by researching pain and pain management options and seeking a referral to a pain specialist who knows how to treat pain effectively.
Pain specialists or pain management doctors focus on evaluating, treating, and rehabilitating people in pain. Some pain specialists work with one therapy, while others offer various treatments, ranging from medication management and physical therapy to advanced therapies like lignocaine infusions.
Once you've found a pain physician, there are several steps you can take to prepare for your visit:
* Check to see that the pain provider is in your insurance network.
* Find out if the pain clinic requires a referral.
* Get a free pain indicator chart form to create and print a “map” of your pain.
* Gather your medical records for your visit.
“The best advice I have for other pain suffers to seek specialized help,” said Michelle Revello, a chronic pain sufferer treated effectively by a pain management specialist. “We all call in expert help for trivial household inconveniences like a leaky sink. We should all do the same for our bodies.”
A holistic doctor is another doctor who often treats those who suffer from fibromyalgia pain. They can be trained in Western medicine and come from several different specialties.
For example, they may be osteopaths or MDs or have naturopathic medicine degrees. Many people are drawn to holistic doctors because they look at an array of factors affecting your overall health; physical symptoms and emotional symptoms, lifestyle factors, and other factors in your life to treat your condition.
Holistic doctors endeavor to spend a lot of time with you, asking you questions about your symptoms, lifestyle, spiritual beliefs, emotional symptoms, and relationships. They see that many things play into a medical condition's total experience and consider all these things when deciding on your treatment.
Holistic doctors use a variety of treatments besides western medications. They may recommend specific exercises, lifestyle changes, homeopathy, acupuncture, herbalism, chiropractic care, and spiritual interventions to help bring relief and healing to some of your symptoms.
Holistic doctors are an excellent option for Fibromyalgia consultation. They practice both conventional medicines and are educated and have experience with alternative therapies.
In the case that you have irritable bowel symptoms as one of your Fibromyalgia symptoms, you may decide to see a gastroenterologist who specializes in gastrointestinal diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome.
They may give you dietary recommendations and prescribe medications that can ease the stomach pain, cramps, and diarrhea so common to Fibromyalgia patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Gastroenterologists also test for lactose intolerance and celiac disease and offer treatment and diet advice.
It is not unusual to access a variety of specialists in the process of diagnosis and finding the right treatment plan for your specific Fibromyalgia symptoms. To manage your Fibromyalgia symptoms, you may consider incorporating allied health professionals, such as massage therapists, psychologists, physiotherapists, and nutritionists.