It's not uncommon for people with fibromyalgia to encounter doctors who don't understand fibromyalgia, don't know how to diagnose and treat it, or simply don't believe it's a real condition. This may lead to delays in diagnosis and needless suffering. The right doctor, on the other hand, will be empathetic and will be able to help you manage your fibromyalgia symptoms and resume your normal activities. However, finding the right fibromyalgia doctor can be a challenge.
These tips on finding the right fibromyalgia doctor may help:
- Network with others who have fibromyalgia. Support groups provide a natural starting point. The National Fibromyalgia Association website at www.fmaware.org lists support groups in each state that can help you find these initial connections. The organization can also provide a list of "fibro friendly" doctors in your state.
- Seek advice from your primary care physician. Many doctors will be able to recommend a specialist who can help you manage your fibromyalgia condition.
- Call the offices of doctors you're considering adding to your team. Ask the office staff whether the doctor frequently sees patients with fibromyalgia and treats them on an ongoing basis. Also ask what treatments the doctor typically prescribes.
- Don't be afraid to walk away. If your doctor doesn't understand fibromyalgia, is insensitive, dismisses your symptoms, or is not willing to coordinate care with your other doctors, it may be best to find someone else.
For more advice on treating fibromyalgia, download the guide Fighting Fibromyalgia from Harvard Medical School.
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