Fibromyalgia: Preparing for Your Next Physician Visit
Fibromyalgia can be difficult to diagnosis. The symptoms of widespread pain, fatigue, cognitive difficulties (fibro-fog), and in some cases depression, headaches, or lower abdominal cramping can often be confused with other conditions.
Working closely with your primary care physician or pain management specialist can help get a proper diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Be prepared by understanding these 5 tips:
1. Know Your Symptoms
Mild pressure applied to certain areas of the body that results in severe pain can be a sign of fibromyalgia. If you are experiencing disrupted sleep and cognitive impairment, document these symptoms in a daily journal so they can be shared with your physician.
2. Log Your Symptoms Daily
It is challenging to remember exactly when a symptom occurred and what may have triggered a flare-up. Patterns that may have gone unnoticed in the past may not become more obvious when you are tracking your activity, food, mood, and pain symptoms in a mobile application, website, or personal journal.
3. Know Your Pain Type
Be prepared to describe your pain – many other patients have described their fibromyalgia pain as dull, achy, sharp, or burning.
4. Does Exercise Help or Hurt
Be sure to let your doctor know how exercise affects you – individuals with fibromyalgia can sometimes be exacerbated the day after exercising.
5. What Medications You Have Taken
Show up with a list of the alternative treatments and medications that you have taken to mitigate your symptoms.
By understanding the variety of symptoms you are experiencing and how they are affecting your pain level on the pain scale, you will be able to have a more productive conversation with your physician or pain management specialist.