Fibromyalgia doctors should be chosen from primary care physicians to manage the fibromyalgia condition. While fibromyalgia patients often are referred to specialists like rheumatologists, neurologists, pain experts, and psychiatrists, the primary care doctors are best equipped to manage most fibromyalgia patients.
Fibromyalgia Doctors As Primary Care Physicians
Fibromyalgia doctors who are primary care doctors, rather than specialists, have the required tools to assess and treat fibromyalgia patients. Fibromyalgia is not a static condition but has symptoms that may peak and trough. No physician knows the patient better than the primary care doctor. He is responsible for the patient’s overall health care and has a continuing relationship with the patient. The specialist, on the other hand, only manages a “component” of the patient’s health care and has only a limited relationship with the patient. The primary care doctor is thus the best “point person” for this disorder.
Fibromyalgia doctors need to rule out several other conditions in order to reach a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. These conditions include rheumatologic and musculoskeletal disorders that can be ruled by objective measures such as imaging studies, laboratory tests or physical examinations. If these tests produce negative results, the primary care physician can then depend on the results of the physical examination and patient history to make a diagnosis. These findings generally consist of the presence of tender points at specified sites, such as the neck, back and shoulders, widespread pain, insomnia, fatigue, digestive discomfort, loss of appetite, increased sensitivity, and malaise.
Fibromyalgia doctors know that these symptoms may also indicate other problems. However, it is the patient’s response to trials of various treatments (both pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic) directed at a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, which will lead to a clear diagnosis of fibromyalgia. It is also important to accept that diagnosing of fibromyalgia is usually impossible during a single examination. A solid diagnosis usually requires several visits to your fibromyalgia doctor.
Fibromyalgia doctors also need to know when to refer fibromyalgia patients to a specialist. When the limitations of the primary care physician or the fibromyalgia doctor have been surpassed, then patients should be referred to specialists. When the primary care doctor no longer feels comfortable treating the patient or when a long-term treatment plan fails, then the fibromyalgia doctor should refer to a specialist.