People who have fibromyalgia often have a hard time finding a doctor who understands them and their disease. How do you know if a doctor will be a good match for you?
First, look for doctors who list fibromyalgia as an area of expertise, or who come recommended by other people with fibromyalgia. Keep in mind that because fibromyalgia is not well understood, the approach to treatment can vary from physician to physician. To decide if a doctor is a good fit for you, ask the doctor plenty of questions.
6 Questions to Ask a Physician About Fibromyalgia Treatment
Doctors often schedule extra time for appointments with new patients, so your first appointment is the ideal time to ask a lot questions, such as:
- When do you recommend medications?
- What non-medication treatments do you recommend?
- Do you support complementary and alternative medicine treatments, such as acupuncture?
- What do you tell patients who need emotional support?
- Under what circumstances would you refer a fibromyalgia patient to a:
- Physical therapist?
- Occupational therapist?
The answers the doctor gives you can help you decide if he or she is a good match. Do they seem to have the necessary expertise? Are they empathetic? Do they seem to view patients as a partners in care?
Lastly, keep in mind that patients may work with more than one doctor. For example, a patient may see both a family physician and a pain specialist who work together to coordinate a treatment plan. Alternatively, a patient may work with a rheumatologist and a psychologist who specializes in coping with chronic pain. Patients can choose a caregiver or combination of caregivers that works for them, and that combination may change over time.