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Finding and Working with a Doctor

Norma Raynor
(patient advocate and support group leader)


 If you have an insurance company with a preferred provider list, call the office(s) of the providers and ask which of their doctors is fibro friendly or if the office staff has any recommendations as to which doctor to see.  You want a doctor to treat you, not just your fibro!  A general or family practice doctor can see you for all of the conditions that can add to your fibro and also refer you to specialists such as rheumatologists, pain specialists, therapists, etc.    

When you’ve made this list or if you can choose your own doctor, ask your friends, family, co-workers, and (best) the members of your support group for their recommendations.  Recommendations from people closest to your own personality are probably the best choice.  Listen closely as each person describes what she/he likes or dislikes about the doctor and make your decision based on your own personal needs.  Often when you call to make an appointment you will be told that the doctor’s practice is full (that they are not taking on new patients.)  Ask to speak with the doctor’s assistant and explain to them why you have chosen this doctor.  If you feel that the doctor will remember and respect the friend who recommended them, use that person’s name (with permission of course.)      

Don’t define yourself as a “fibromyalgia patient” but as a person who has fibromyalgia.  Explain that you understand that (at this time) there is no cure but that you intend to work as a team with your doctor to relieve as many symptoms as possible.      

When you have an appointment be prepared to tell the doctor what is working for you and what you need to work on.  Educate yourself  (with web sites, books, journals, and the help of a good support group) about your illness.  Tell your doctor what you are doing to help yourself such as exercise, massage and relaxation.  Ask for refills of prescriptions if the medication works but asking for new pain medication at the first visit may cause the doctor to question your need.  If you do need to ask about new medications be prepared to explain where your information comes from and why you feel it will work for you.  Plan to follow the doctors recommendations or be prepared to explain why you can’t or won’t.  If you have limited finances, tell the doctor so that you can get a less expensive (older or generic) medication.    

1. Prepare For Your Visit 

Take With You: 

1.  A complete written health history. 

2.  Current medication/supplement list to each visit.  Keep one with your

     Drivers license in case of emergencies.  

3. Some reading material - just in case your doctor is behind time!! 

List all supplements and herbs.  They impact your health and may interact negatively with
List all supplements and herbs.  They impact your health and may interact negatively with







20 mg

1 daily

Dr. J. Smith


5 mg

As needed

Dr. J. Smith










25 mg

As needed




1 daily



500 mg

As needed

Cold sores









Sulfa, penicillin, iodine, peanuts, shellfish












.  Take a copy of a journal or website article to support your inquiry. 

          New or unusual symptoms  (pain or fatigue) 

          How long have you had it?  (hours, days, weeks) 

          How long does it last?  (minutes, hours, always) 

          Quality of pain  (burning, stabbing, crushing, tingling) 

          What brings it on?  (reaching, coughing, over work) 

          What relieves it?  (medication, warm bath, sleep) 

          Unusual activity or stressor
        If you have no new symptoms: 

         What one or two items do you want to address?  (e.g.sleep, change medication, referral)

3.  Take a copy of a journal or website article to support your inquiry. 

        Highlight a small portion of interest.       



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