Doctors who treat fibromyalgia
by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR
Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.
Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit
The type of physician who treats fibromyalgia is less a specific specialist and more a sympathetic, empathetic physician who believes in the disorder and is willing to help the patient to:
• Establish realistic goals
• Feel better
That said, a number of different specialties will often do a good job with FM.
The first doctor who usually sees the patient will be the primary care physician. Family practice and internal medicine doctors often will do well with patients who have mild disease.
In cases where the patient does not improve then the patient will be seen by a number of different types of doctors depending on their major syndrome complex. For instance, if a patient has gastrointestinal complaints they may see a gastroenterologist. If they have genitourinary problems they may wind up seeing a urologist or gynecologist. Patients with a strong depression component will see a psychiatrist. If headaches or memory problems are the chief complaint, patients will often see a neurologist. Patients who have ringing in the ears may see an ENT specialist. Those patients who have blurred vision will go to an opthalmologist. And patients with aches and pains will see a rheumatologist.
All too often though, a patient will see a specialist who either doesn’t recognize the problem or who doesn’t believe the problem exists. This approach does not do the patient a service. It is imperative that organic disease be ruled out, but once the diagnosis of FM is established, that is only the beginning.
In those cases where pain is the problem and the patient is not improving, occasionally naturopaths, chiropractors, osteopaths, physiatrists, and acupuncturists may be of assistance. Because dietary manipulation may be useful, alternative providers who specialize in holistic interventions (Ayervedic, Chinese medicine, and others) can be helpful.
A good way to find a doctor is to ask the opinion of members of the local FM support group. Also, going to a qualified source and asking about a physicians credentials is advised. Avoid quacks… and there are a lot of them who prey on patients with FM! The Fibromyalgia Network is a national organization that puts out a monthly newsletter with good information. The local chapter of the Arthritis Foundation may also be a good source.f
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