Having the right fibromyalgia doctor can make the difference between struggling silently in pain or managing your disease confidently. Whether you’re newly diagnosed or feel overwhelmed by your massive list of prescriptions that seem to not do much, it’s never too late to do your research and change your fibromyalgia doctor.
The five mistakes fibromyalgia patients make when choosing their doctor:
1. Choosing a general practitioner
While a general practitioner is great to go to for your yearly checkup or for a quick test and prescription when you’ve got strep throat, they’re not the best for handling complex chronic health conditions. That’s why they usually refer fibromyalgia patients out to a specialist, like a rheumatologist.
2. Only considering a rheumatologist
Your primary care doctor might refer you to the wrong specialist, especially if they don’t know too much about fibromyalgia. Take your provider’s recommendation with a grain of salt, and do your due diligence (get to those Yelp reviews!).
Your doctor might refer you to a rheumatologist, because they specialize in painful autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Fibromyalgia is not considered an autoimmune disorder (although some research suggests the immune system plays a role), and some rheumatologists don’t even take fibromyalgia patients.
Other specialists that take fibromyalgia patients include neurologists, pain management doctors, chiropractors, and functional medicine doctors. Each will have a different primary mode of treating you, and you should think about what is the best fit for you.
Some patients feel their doctors are just pushing 10 different types of pills on them, without offering any insight into other types of treatments. Others suggest treatments that aren’t covered by insurance and are out of their budget. Learn what a typical fibromyalgia spends per year with the doctor to get a feel for what’s right for you.
3. Choosing a doctor with little experience with fibromyalgia
No matter what type of doctor you do choose, make sure that they have extensive experience in treating fibromyalgia patients. This condition is notoriously hard to treat, with a wide variety of symptoms and many patients not responding to medications.
Working with an inexperienced doctor could mean that your doctor gives up on you because they don’t know all the options available, or worse, doesn’t understand the level of pain you’re in and downplays it. You need a compassionate doctor who understands you and your disease.
4. Not adding a health coach to your team
A doctor can prescribe medications, but if you’re looking for a more natural, holistic approach that includes changes your diet and using herbal supplements, a doctor is not the right fit. Your doctor can tell you to eat healthy, but doesn’t have the time to tell you how to do it, or followup with you to make sure it’s happening.
Knowledge is NOT power. Knowledge is only potential power. Action is power.– Tony Robbins
Health coaches turn information into action and provide the emotional support to help you implement and maintain long-term lifestyle changes that will transform your health in a short amount of time.
Health coaches usually specialize in a condition or a treatment that they have personal experience with. For example, there are cannabis coaches that support new medical marijuana patients and there are fibromyalgia coaches that support patients through functional medicine.
I happen to be one of the few health coaches that specializes in fibromyalgia and cannabis, helping clients reduce their dependence on toxic prescriptions and heal naturally. If you’d like to work with me 1-on-1, click the image below.
5. Choosing a doctor who doesn’t support medical marijuana
A recent research study found that 81% of fibromyalgia patients improved their symptoms with medical marijuana, also known as cannabis. However, many conservative doctors still believe cannabis is a drug of abuse and has no medical benefit. If your doctor isn’t open to the massive amount of research and testimonials supporting cannabis for fibromyalgia, you should pick another physician.