By Adrienne Dellwo, About.com Guide December 7, 2011
It’s a sad fact that many of us with fibromyalgia know more about our illness than our doctors (and physical therapists, massage therapists, chiropractors, etc.) Even the ones who accept fibromyalgia as “real” often don’t know the full range of symptoms or anatomical abnormalities that are proven or suggested by research. It’s a complex condition that few practitioners specialize in, and therefore they don’t keep up with the new information. (I used to think badly of them for this, until I realized that the incredible volume of medical research coming out every month makes it impossible for anyone but a specialist to really be on top of it.)
This knowledge deficit in the medical community means that we’re often required to educate our doctors (or other providers) in order to get proper treatments. That’s a difficult task, especially when you’re not medically trained and fibro fog is there to trip you up when it comes to giving a lecture on neurobiology.
I recently came across a review of physiological abnormalities tied to fibromyalgia that’s not only phenomenal, but is fully available online. That’s a rarity. If you’re trying to educate a health-care provider, I highly recommend sending them the link or giving them a printed copy.
A few words of advice for how you deliver it:
- Some practitioners are receptive to new information, but some are know-it-all jerks who will refuse to even look at something like this. Don’t waste your time with the second kind. (Find a New Fibromyalgia Doctor.)
- Be sure you don’t have a defensive attitude – try to establish a relationship of mutual respect in which you’re helping each other through the treatment process. Try saying something like, “I know you’re not a fibromyalgia specialist, so I thought you might be interested in this great review.”
- Don’t expect him/her to sit and read this during your appointment as time is generally limited.
The review may also help convince the skeptics in your life. I’m sure they won’t understand the medical jargon, but just seeing the number of physical problems discussed, and that evidence supports your claims of pain and other symptoms, can really help. However, if you’d like a simpler explanation for them, this article is a good place to start:
Have you had to educate your doctor or other health-care provider? How did it go? What helped? Was he/she receptive to the information? Leave your comments below!