Fibromyalgia Doctors

It is very difficult to diagnose fibromyalgia due to the fact that symptoms of fibromyalgia can be very similar to symptoms of other conditions. Many people go from doctor to doctor for years before being diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

Here are some things you can do to help your doctors help you:

  • Keep a record of symptoms- keep track of your symptoms, when they began, what helped or didn’t, any treatments you have tried and who prescribed them.
  • Keep copies of your medical records - by law, you are entitled to your health records. Keeping copies of consults, lab and x-ray results as well as other pertinent information can save time and money, and prevent you from having to have the same tests repeated more than once. You can request your records; there may be a small fee charged for copying fees and you may have to sign a release.
  • Don’t be difficult- It can be frustrating seeing numerous doctors and yet still not receiving a diagnosis. Don’t let your frustration show. Do not disparage other health care professionals. This may make others feel defensive. You do not want to be labeled as “difficult”!

What types of doctors can diagnose fibromyalgia?

Your family doctor
A general practioner - your family doctor - is the place to start. They know you best- your past medical history, other conditions you may have and what medications you are currently taking. Your family doctor may order many tests to rule out other conditions, such as anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and others that may share symptoms in common with fibromyalgia. If your family doctor cannot make the diagnosis, or has limited experience with fibromyalgia, he or she may refer you to a specialist who is more familiar with fibromyalgia.
Rheumatologist
A rheumatologist receives extra training (usually 2 or 3 years) studying rheumatology, specializing in disorders of the bones, joints and muscles. In order to become board certified as a rheumatologist, they must pass a rigorous exam given by the American Board of Internal Medicine, in addition to their extra years of training. Rheumatologists treat patients with various forms of arthritis, osteoporosis, gout, lupus, back problems and fibromyalgia, to name a few of the hundreds of conditions they see on a regular basis. Rheumatologists are eminently qualified to diagnose and treat fibromyalgia.
Neurologist
You may be referred to a neurologist if you suffer from headaches, tingling or other abnormal sensations in the limbs, dizziness, weakness, cognitive difficulties, muscle problems or other symptoms that are suggestive of central nervous system disorders. A neurologist specializes in diseases of the spinal cord, brain, muscles and nerves. Because fibromyalgia may cause memory, concentration and other problems with cognition, not to mention headaches, sleep abnormalities, fatigue and other issues, you may be referred to a neurologist by your family doctor.
Pain management specialist
A pain management specialist is a physician who specializes in treating acute and chronic pain. He or she may hold several specialties, but a pain management specialist takes an extra year of training learning how to help patients cope with pain. They may use several different approaches to pain, including medication, counseling, exercise, massage, physiotherapy, biofeedback, chiropractic treatment and other modalities. A multi-disciplinary approach to pain is often beneficial when coping with a disease such as fibromyalgia, which is multifaceted.
Other specialists
You may also see a gastrointestinal specialist if you suffer from symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in order to rule out serious pathology. If you experience pelvic pain, you may be referred to a gynecologist who specializes in disease of the genitourinary system. Other specialists may be consulted depending on your symptoms.

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Fibromyalgia is a prevalent condition that affects many people in the United States. Approximately 3.7 million Americans have Fibromyalgia. That is 1 in every 73 people.

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