Fibromyalgia: Questions for and From Your Doctor
What should you bring to your visit? continued...
Your list should include:
- All medications you’re taking and the dosages.
- Any medication you’ve taken in the past, why you stopped taking it, and your dosing history.
- Other types of treatments or therapies you’ve tried, such as yoga, acupuncture, or massage, and if they helped.
- Your current symptoms and concerns.
If it’s not your first visit, prepare a list that includes any updates from the last visit as well as any current questions or concerns.
Corleone: I keep all of my health information stored in my smart phone, and I bring it along to my appointments. It’s a great way to keep everything I need in one place and my doctor really appreciates it. I’m able to keep a running list of my medications, a list of my symptoms, and anything else that’s important. I can also use it to take notes during the appointment if I need to. I usually ask about the following each time I see my doctor:
- Ask about the results of any recent lab work, and how the results compare to previous test results.
- Ask if any adjustments need to be made to your medications.
- Ask about any specific symptoms you're having and tell the doctor what you're doing to help treat the symptom. Ask if there's anything additional you can do to help treat it.
- Never leave without asking when you should next see the doctor. This way you can make sure to schedule a convenient appointment before leaving the office.
- For those who are newly diagnosed, ask the doctor if they know of any local fibromyalgia support groups.
Is it helpful to bring someone else to the appointment?
Corleone: I’ve found it's very helpful to bring my husband to appointments with me. It’s nice to have his support, and he can help me explain my symptoms to my doctor. Sometimes he’s able to remember things I don’t.
Zashin: A family member or friend can be a great asset at an appointment. A spouse may be able to describe certain symptoms better than you, such as disturbed sleep. It can also be helpful to have that person take notes or ask questions if you forget. If you can’t bring anyone, using a tape recorder can be a good way to record everything your doctor tells you.
How can I improve communication with my doctor?
Zashin: If you have questions in between appointments, don’t hesitate to call the office and ask. Your doctor or another staff member should get back to you in a timely manner. But be sure to leave a number where you can be reached and what time is best to reach you. This will limit the time that you spend playing “phone tag” and help ensure you get a prompt response.