How To Look For The Right Fibromyalgia Therapist
Not all physicians are adept in handling fibromyalgia. People with fibromyalgia should search for the right physicians who have good understanding of the pathology and treatment of the disease.
The good news is that there are a good number of physicians who are also fibromyalgia experts. Fibromyalgia has grown into a respected branch of medical studies, therefore many physicians know the principles underlying its treatment as well as the nature of fibromyalgia.
Under traditional medicine, fibromyalgia falls under rheumatology. However, as modern medical practice necessitates interdisciplinary approach to treatment, even non-rheumatology experts like psychiatrists, family doctors, neurologists, osteopaths and podiatrists are practicing fibromyalgia treatment. It should be very comforting for fibromyalgia patients to know that many people in primary care are exploring fibromyalgia treatment and diagnosis.
But looking for fibromyalgia specialists does not come without a challenge. Specialists may be scarce in small towns or rural areas. Patients in urban areas may easily find fibromyalgia specialists, but these practitioners may be reluctant to accept new patients.
If you are suffering from fibromyalgia and at loss at looking for the right physician, the following guidelines will make your search easy and productive.
Ask references from support groups and patients.
Look for patients with fibromyalgia and ask them who their doctors are. You can also contact hospitals to know who among their attending physicians handle fibromyalgia cases. Patient support groups should also be able to provide good references.
Consider availing of the services of non-rheumatologists.
Limiting your search to rheumatologists may not be the best option. These specialists may not be effective in providing personalized services due to their large network of patients. Also, some rheumatologists do not specialize on fibromyalgia treatment.
Look for the help of various practitioners from different fields.
This is called the team approach to treatment. Usually, fibromyalgia patients want to get medical services from a single provider. If you cannot find one, you may as well consider looking for a medical team comprising various specialists who can attend to your specific needs.
Consult primary care physicians, doctors of osteopathy, nurses, neurologists, psychiatrists and podiatrists for long-term care.
These specialists are in better position to treat specific symptoms of fibromyalgia in the long-run. Usually, patients looking for the treatment of symptoms like headache, depression, sleeping problems, and plantar fasciitis meet with these specialists.
Though these specialists may lack experience in treating fibromyalgia, it does not mean that they are less effective than fibromyalgia specialists. Willingness to help and open-mindedness can be as valuable as medical experience.
For short-term treatment, consult with physical, occupational, cognitive and speech therapists.
Though only providing short-term assistance, these specialists can make significant improvements in the quality of life of fibromyalgia patients. Plantar fasciitis, posture and other fibromyalgia symptoms can be treated by physical therapists. Patients should look for therapists who go beyond sports medicine. Stress on certain regions of the body can be referred to occupational therapists.
Speech therapists can attend to the cognitive problems experienced by people with fibromyalgia as they do to trauma and stroke patients. It is common for fibromyalgia patients to experience cognition-related problems collectively known as “fibro frog.” This condition is characterized by difficulty in thinking and poor memory. By managing these symptoms, speech therapists can significantly improve the quality of life of fibromyalgia patients.
If you are a fibromyalgia patient who is frustrated with your past therapists, you should not stop searching for the right doctors. Look for a specialist or at least for someone who has experience with old patients. You may detest it at first if you are in your forties, but the exercise they will recommend will be similar.
Consult pain clinics.
Ask them if they handle symptoms of fibromyalgia. Know some of their patients to verify if they really do treat fibromyalgia-induced pain. Having an idea of the number of fibromyalgia cases treated is also a must, as pain clinics can be hit-and-miss with regards to fibromyalgia.
Screen prospective physicians through a face-to-face interview.
Interview will help you in choosing the right healthcare provider. Contact prospective physicians for a no-cost interview. Make it clear that this is only an interview and not a medical consultation. During the interview, present a list of your medical problems and symptoms. Make the interview brief, lasting around 15 minutes.
Below are the questions recommended by the National Fibromyalgia Association.
- How comfortable are you in diagnosing and treating fibromyalgia?
- How many fibromyalgia cases have you treated?
- Are you familiar with my other conditions?
- What are the medications you usually prescribe to your fibromyalgia patients? Do you have any concerns on the medications I’m currently taking?
- How do you describe an adequate pain control?
- Are you capable of treating depression or do you refer your patients to mental health specialists?
- Do you practice or patronize alternative therapies. What alternative therapy do you recommend?
- How can we communicate best?
Assess your impressions on the physician after the interview. Is he knowledgeable on fibromyalgia? Did he answer all your questions? Is he likely to listen to you as a patient?
Finding the right doctor for fibromyalgia treatment is a must. Patient with disappointing experiences should not give up. Remember that fibromyalgia treatment is an advancing medical field.