Free Referrals Available
Looking for physician or another type of provider to treat you? The Fibromyalgia Network can help. As you may guess, good providers come and go, or simply stop taking new patients. At the same time, new doctors are continually setting up practice. Nothing remains static, and the same holds true for our referral listings organized by state (United States only). Keeping track of these changes requires continual effort, but we feel you deserve it to get the best care possible.
In addition to provider listings by state, our referrals also offer contact information to the area support groups. We understand how essential it is to be able to talk to other patients who can relate to what you are going through.
A provider and group leader listing for your state can be obtained by sending us a self-addressed envelope with first-class postage (business size). Please include a note that you are requesting a doctor referral list and mail it to:
PO Box 31750
Tucson, AZ 85751-1750
You are probably wondering: Why can’t I get the referral emailed or faxed to me? We used to do this, but the lists ended up on websites or in permanent directories where they were never updated. These unkept lists understandably upset providers and group leaders.
Online listings just open the door to unwanted solicitation by companies that wish to promote their products, treatments, or medications. We need to be able to ensure providers and patient support leaders they will be able to retain control over their personal contact information and will not be harassed.
This firm policy is in place so we can maintain your free access to the best providers in your area. Having a doctor willing to work with you is essential, so all providers must come highly recommended by people with fibromyalgia.
The referral lists are continuously updated. You may request a referral to a neighboring state in your note.
Finding the Right Physician
Not every provider will share your treatment goals or ideas on how to tackle your symptoms. Each doctor has his or her own style, but it may not be what you are looking for, even if they come highly recommended by another fibromyalgia patient. So how do you determine if this new doctor will be the one for you? The initial visit can be intimidating or awkward, so take time to consider what you want from the doctor before the your first appointment. Consider some suggestions from the experts:
Bring your records. Come prepared to your first visit with a list your medications, doses, and medical records.
Find out if the doctor still treats fibromyalgia. Although all providers on our list have already been asked this question, the “front office” may not speak the mind of the provider. On the first visit, you should ask, “Will you accept me as a fibromyalgia patient? Are you comfortable with it? If patients ask the doctor in this way, they don’t have to feel rejected personally. They can feel the doctor rejected the disease,” says Robert Katz, M.D., of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL.
Do not set false expectations. Consider your general doctor as the “quarterback” in your treatment plan. “He isn’t supposed to be an expert in a medical condition, but should be the main resource who can sort out conditions and suggest other professionals,” says Don Uslan, M.A., M.B.A., L.M.H.C., a therapist in Seattle, WA. In a first visit, you can feel if the doctor is nice, compassionate, and respectful. Don’t expect a miracle cure.
What can I ask on the first visit? More than likely, you have a boatload of questions. If you go through an exhaustive list of symptoms, it could gobble up precious time without getting anything accomplished. A better approach is to write down your most important symptoms, questions, or concerns. Do not expect the doctor to address more than two or three. The rest can be discussed at future appointments.
Assess expectations. Upon leaving the first visit, consider how the appointment went and if you might be coming back for a second or third visit. Did the physician listen and hear you? Did he or she seem interested, honest, compassionate? Are you leaving the office feeling better about yourself?
Bad signs. “If you notice during the course of the visit that the doctor doesn’t give you time to talk or ask questions, doesn’t review your history or ask if you understand what is being said, that all counts against the doctor,” says Richard Podell, M.D., of the UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. “Also, be careful that the physician doesn’t make generalized or bigoted statements about anything, but especially negative comments about fibromyalgia, such as ‘FM patients always. …’ That’s a sure sign of burnout.”
Be yourself. Try to relax. Overall, let the physician see you for who you are. Your pain is real. Your doctor may accept you, or you may reject him or her.