Finding the Right Fibromyalgia Doctor for You
Should I Meet a Fibromyalgia Doctor Ahead of Time? continued...
During the initial interview, ask the doctor questions about preferred methods of treatment. Does the doctor seem to relate well to people? Do you feel at ease talking with the doctor? Are your questions answered? Is he or she current in using the latest methods of treatment?
Your doctor needs to be accessible, especially when you’re dealing with a chronic illness like fibromyalgia. When you are ill, popularity is not important, but availability is. Make sure your choice of a doctor yields a person who is not only an excellent doctor but also one who is available and attentive to your personal needs. Does the doctor allow ample time with you for you to get quality care? Are your questions answered clearly, and are the necessary tests being done?
Check on office hours and make sure these fit with your daily schedule. How is payment made? What insurance providers are accepted? Ask for information about emergency availability and charges. Is your doctor always on call or are other doctors sharing the load? Even the receptionist's responses might set the tone and help you decide if this is the right office. The support staff will be the ones who help you most with prescriptions, the necessary lab work, X-rays, and appointments with hospitals or other professional services.
How Can I Help the Doctor Get an Accurate Diagnosis of Fibromyalgia?
To help the fibromyalgia specialist make an accurate diagnosis, make lists of the following items, add your own concerns to the lists, and bring the lists with you to your first visit:
- Any health concerns you have
- The fibromyalgia symptoms you’ve noticed
- Past illnesses and medications you took
- All the over-the-counter and prescription medications you are taking
- Questions you have about your health, fibromyalgia, and pain
- Your family history of illnesses
- Lifestyle habits that may affect your health -- for example, diet, exercise, and smoking
- Causes of stress in your life
Also, bring your medications, vitamins, and natural dietary supplements with you to the first visit. Your doctor will need to see what you are taking each day.
When Should I Call my Fibromyalgia Doctor?
Call your fibromyalgia doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Widespread muscle tenderness and pain, particularly on both sides of the body and both above and below the waist
- Disturbed sleep (tossing, turning, waking up frequently during the night) and waking up feeling tired and not rested
- Muscle and joint stiffness that doesn't get better when you move around
- Any change in your symptoms
If you have fibromyalgia, be alert to symptoms of chronic fatigue, stiffness, depression, anxiety, and a loss of interest in things you usually enjoy. Also be aware of changes in eating and sleeping habits. These can often be successfully treated if you tell your doctor about them.