Dr. Bruce Campbell offers some great advice on ProHealth on how to find and work with your doctor when you have ME/CFS and/or Fibromyalgia. Because ME/CFS & Fibromyalgia are such complex illnesses, there is often several physicians ranging from family doctors to specialists needed to help treat the illnesses. Some of these physicians include rheumatologists, pain management doctors/specialists, sleep disorder physicians, psychologists, occupational therapists, massage therapists, and nutritionists.
Here are Dr. Campbell’s suggestions for finding a doctor:
How do you find a doctor who is knowledgeable and whom you trust? One good starting point is referrals from fellow patients. Support groups offer a good way to meet other patients.
• The CFIDS Association of America maintains a state-by-state list of CFS support groups in the United States. They will mail a list of groups in your state at no cost. (You can contact them at 800/442-3437 or email your request to SupportGroups@cfids.org.)
• The Arthritis Foundation sponsors fibromyalgia support groups in many places in the US. For information on groups and physician referral lists by area, visit their website (www.arthritis.org/).
• For other lists of FM support groups, see the website of the National Fibromyalgia Association (www.fmaware.org/) and also the ProHealth.com website (www.prohealth.com), which also has listings for CFS groups.
Other resources for finding doctors include:
• The “Good Doctors” list at Co-Cure (www.co-cure.org/Good-Doc.htm),
• The FMS Community website (http://fmscommunity.org/findingadoctor.htm),
• Devin Starlanyl’s site (www.sover.net/~devstar/provider.htm),
• [And a relative newcomer, at ChronicFatigueTreatments.com, which offers a growing listing of CFS doctors in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.]
To make your doctor’s visits productive, Dr. Campbell recommends you “take PART”:
P – Prepare – make a list of questions or concerns before your appointment.
A – Be Active – begin the visit with a brief description of what your main concerns are.
R – Repeat – to make sure you understand what the doctor is saying, repeat back to him/her what they just said.
T – Take Action – As the visit is ending, ask yourself if you have everything you need to take action after the visit is over.