You should know that when it comes to searching for a good fibromyalgia doctor, you’re going to be spending a good bit of time researching.
Fibromyalgia is a very complicated disorder and not all doctors completely understand it. So, when looking for a doctor, it is vital that you find one that understands and is up to date on the latest research and treatment options.
You should also be aware that some physicians are still under the belief that fibromyalgia is “all in your head.”
However, even with all that in mind, it is possible to find a good fibromyalgia doctor to take care of you, no matter where you live.
Fibromyalgia is becoming more accepted in the medical community and more and more physicians are understanding the disease and the treatments that have been proven to help.
Typically, you would see a rheumatologist to treat your fibromyalgia. However, these days, even primary care physicians, osteopaths, neurologists, podiatrists, and psychiatrists are treating fibromyalgia patients.
Looking for a Fibromyalgia Provider
Of course, if you live in a smaller community, you may have a bit more difficulty in finding a medical provider to treat your fibromyalgia.
Living in a larger urban area offers the benefit of being able to more easily locate a specialist- however, not all of them accept new patients.
So, you may need to do a little more research. Consider the following when looking for a fibromyalgia provider.
Ask around about support groups for fibromyalgia patients. Call your local hospital and see if there are any support groups for fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, or lupus.
People who are in those groups will be able to lead you in the right direction for finding a good fibromyalgia doctor.
Consider other medical professionals
Many times, people limit their search for a doctor to rheumatologists. However, most of them have large patient loads and prefer to only treat RA and lupus.
Consider team treatment
Of course, the ideal situation would be to have one physician take care of you all the way around. However, if you are unable to get that, you can choose a medical provider to supervise your long-term treatment and other professionals who can address more specific, special issues.
Discuss your overall condition with your osteopath, PCP, NP, podiatrist, psychiatrist, neurologist, and other medical professionals you’re seeing.
Typically, you only go to them for specific symptoms, but by openly discussing your overall health, they may be willing to work with you on the long term treatment of your fibromyalgia.
Even if they don’t have experience with managing fibromyalgia care, being willing to treat it does count- it proves they’re open-minded.
For the short term, you will most likely need to work with a physical, speech, cognitive, and occupational therapist to treat the various parts of the disorder.
You won’t need them for the long-term, just to help you learn some exercises that you can do on your own to improve your quality of life.
Check with local pain clinics
Some of these clinics do work with fibromyalgia, some don’t. If they do offer treatment for fibromyalgia, ask them if they would mind having one of their fibromyalgia patients giving you a call to discuss their experience.
Interview Potential HCPs
For each of the medical professionals that interests you, see if you can schedule a low- or no-cost consultation so that you can talk to them about possibly being your HCP.
Make it clear to the person who is doing the scheduling that this is not for a medical exam, but just an interview.
Before going in for the interview, make sure that you have a short list of your medical issues and/or symptoms. Make sure you keep it short and simple- keep it about 10-15 minutes.
Questions to Ask
Following is a list of questions to ask at the interview for your fibromyalgia doctor.
- How comfortable are you diagnosing/treating fibromyalgia?
- How many patients with fibromyalgia patients have you treated?
- How familiar are you with the other conditions I have?
- Are there certain medications you typically prescribe and do you have a problem with what I am currently taking?
- Do you treat depression or will I need to see someone else for that?
- What do you consider to be “adequate” control of pain?
- Are you familiar with any of the alternative therapies and which ones to you recommend?
- What is the best way for us to communicate?
After the interview is over, take some time to write down your impression of this provider. Do you feel that he/she believes in fibromyalgia as a real disorder? Did they answer your questions?
Do you feel like they’re willing to listen to you? Trust your own feelings about this- if you’re not comfortable, move on to another provider.
Keep looking until you have found the best health care professional to treat your fibromyalgia. Though it can be a bit frustrating- especially if you have bad experiences- don’t ever give up.
Know that things are getting better in the way of fibromyalgia treatment, and there really is a medical professional out there that will be willing to work with you on finding the best way to treat your fibromyalgia- whether it be traditional medical treatments or alternative ones.