Finding the Right Fibromyalgia Doctor: What to Ask About Treatment When Choosing a Doctor

If you have been living with muscle pain, soreness and sleep loss for along time, you may decide to look for a doctor who specializes in treating fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia can be a challenge to treat successfully.  It’s not simple to diagnose.  And because people who suffer with fibromyalgia seem to look normal on the outside, some patients have trouble finding a doctor who believes the symptoms are real.

Finding a Doctor Committed to Helping You

When you’re in chronic pain, you need a doctor who’s committed to finding the correct cause, and creating a treatment plan that really works for you.  A doctor who specializes in treating chronic pain may – or may not — be a good doctor to treat fibromyalgia.

Here are a few important questions to help you explore a doctor’s approach, experience, and confidence in helping people live better with fibromyalgia:

1) Questions about getting the right diagnosis

  1. How do you confirm a diagnosis?
  2. Do I need to re-do medical tests I’ve already had done?
  3. Do you want to see the test results I have from other doctors?
  4. What do you test for and how does that help plan the treatment?

2) Questions about finding the best treatment approach

  1. What medications work best, in your experience?
  2. How confident are you that medications will help me feel better?
  3. If the medications don’t work for me, what other treatments would you try?
  4. Do you include medical acupuncture, physical therapy, dietary restrictions or certain exercise programs in your treatment plan?
  5. Do you provide acupuncture, nutrition supplements or exercise plans, or do you recommend others for these?

3) Questions about follow-up and monitoring your care

  1. What should I do between appointments if my symptoms get worse?
  2. What if have questions about treatment or medication after I get home – what should I do?
  3. How often do you recommend I come in for follow-up visits if all is going well?

When you find a doctor you want to work with, you’ll still need to take an active part in your self-care.  If you’re willing to follow the treatment plan and weed out the less-successful approaches, you can isolate those therapies that truly make you feel better.  Fibromyalgia is not completely understood, and researchers are finding new insights into the causes and mechanisms behind it.  An expert fibromyalgia doctor will keep informed about the progress in research, and will use that to help you improve your treatment plan over time.

About Dr. Keller

Dr. Betty Keller practices integrative medicine at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.  She is a board certified doctor specializing in fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, weight loss, medical acupuncture and disease prevention, serving Franklin Lakes, Wyckoff, NJ, and nearby areas.