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Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 90
   Posted 10/23/2008 9:53 PM (GMT -6)   
I have an odd question for you guys - this is pretty much the first time in my life I'm having to do all this doctor stuff on my own so... what does a rheumatologist do that's different from the PCP? I mean, I know its a specialty. I guess my question is, what is she going to be able to do for me that my regular doc isn't? Right now I'm just going to a family doctor but I'm trying to find someone else to go to for FMS just because I think I really need someone to really focus on that - I have so much other stuff going on and this is just getting worse...maybe I just answered my own question? :-)
~~Asthma, Reactive Airway Disease, Allergies (to nature), Fibromyalgia, Kidney Reflux Disease, Chronic Migraines (docs currently working on those), Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Depression, Restless Leg Syndrome, and a few others that remain undiagnosed because I don't feel like being on anymore medication than I am already on. ~~

~~ I'm 21 and trying to be optimistic~~

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 6056
   Posted 10/23/2008 10:35 PM (GMT -6)   
Not so odd a question... but if you already have a diagnosis a rheumy won't be able to do much more for you than a General Practitioner... Basically, fibro is incurable as yet so all the docs can do is treat symptoms. Have you tried the Malic Acid and magnesium therapy? Also, are you on an SSRI (antidepressant drug) to help keep your serotonin levels up?
~ Jeannie, Forum Moderator/Diabetes & Fibromyalgia
I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much. ~Mother Teresa

"People are like stained glass windows: They sparkle and shine when the sun's out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light within."- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 368
   Posted 10/24/2008 7:39 AM (GMT -6)   
Alot of doctors dont like to prescribe unless they get the ok from a specialist.  The meds im on my doc could of done in the first place he just didnt want the responsibilty. Most with fibro respond to norm pain meds from doc however I did need something stronger and the pain specialist put me on it, now my doc has no prob prescribing.  sue2z confused confused confused
Fibromyalgia, ulcerative colonitus, arthritus, bi-polar
norspan patch, valium, prothiedon, lyrica

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 1771
   Posted 10/24/2008 8:16 AM (GMT -6)   
I agree with Jeannie and Sue2z.  I went to 2 rheumatologists and both gave me the same fibro diagnosis, but neither was really able to do anything that my primary doc couldn't do. 
I think the advantage to seeing a rhuemy at least once is just for a diagnosis confirmation by a specialist.
Hope you feel better soon.  :-)
"There is no charm equal to tenderness of  heart." - Jane Austen
Fibromyalgia, 2 back surgeries, Meniere's Disease, 30+ kidney stones, GERD, IBS, Asthma, Allergies, Endometriosis, Heart Arrythmia, Myofascial Pain, TMJ.

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 90
   Posted 10/24/2008 10:14 AM (GMT -6)   
I guess the problem is I'm looking for answers but don't know the question. I've had my diagnosis for over a year. I'm on lyrica five times a day and 90 mg of cymbalta and it feels like its getting worse. I was on 60 mg of cymbalta so my doc said to wait to see if that helps. But she didn't really listen to me. She just said "oh okay - up the meds" and left the room. I don't want just "up the meds" the rest of my life. I'm on enough meds as it is at 21. I want more than that I guess but with the kind of disease that we have I don't even know if thats possible so I guess I don't really know what I want from my doctor. I want a doc that really understands how dibilitating this is and how hard this is every day especially when the only time I get time to rest is if I skip a class. (*slaps my own hand*) Well I have a midterm in forty five minutes that I didn't study for. You guys miss college? hee hee.
~~Asthma, Reactive Airway Disease, Allergies (to nature), Fibromyalgia, Kidney Reflux Disease, Chronic Migraines (docs currently working on those), Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Depression, Restless Leg Syndrome, and a few others that remain undiagnosed because I don't feel like being on anymore medication than I am already on. ~~

~~ I'm 21 and trying to be optimistic~~

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 6067
   Posted 10/24/2008 10:40 AM (GMT -6)   
I found a new rheumy more for arthritis in my hands but I also wanted a fresh opinion on the fibro by someone that specializes in it. It may turn out that he doesn't have anymore tricks up his sleeves than my GP does when it comes to the fibro. I see him next week so we shall see. If all he can do is help the arthritis I will be happy. I don't think it hurts to get a new opinion as more research and stuff is being done. I'm sure my GP doesn't keep up with everything on fibro as much as this rheumy does.
Good luck on the test.
luv and hugs
Forum Moderator Fibromyalgia
Fibro,Sjogrens, Anxiety, Gastroparesis, IBS, Gastritis, Allergies, High Blood Pressure, Low Blood Sodium and Osteoarthritis
Amitriptyline, Celexa, Xanax, Synthroid, Zyrtec, Micardis, Spironalactone, Tylenol, Reglan, Lidoderm Patches and Tramadol
Co Q 10, Super B Complex, Extra B12, Multi vitamin

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 4083
   Posted 10/24/2008 11:46 AM (GMT -6)   
I agree with Marlee, rheum is good for arthritus,and the rheum may know more the pcp does about fibromyalgia and be able to better direct you in others areas that may be helpful that the pcp doesnt know.  I dont think its a bad idea to have a pcp and a rhuem, I think the more care you get the better you will feel. Please let us know how you make out at your appt.

God Bless,and have a Great Day!!.......Love.....Sheryl
xcema,hypermobile,Chronic Bronchitus,Fatigue,Positive ANAFibro-05--Had surgery on left & right knees 06, Interstial Cystitis-06 Spondlylosis/Disc Degernation Disease severe arthitis lower back -08,implantedInterstim-06 hysterectomy & IBS-06 Arthiritus-04 Depression-04GERDS/ Hiatial hernia -07   Anxiety-07 Gastroparesis-08--Occasional Migraines
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Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 846
   Posted 10/24/2008 12:43 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm waiting for an appointment with a rheumy. I'm hoping too that he will be more knowledgeable than my PCP. What I really want is to have a confirmed dx, my PCP only suspects it. Also, I haven't had any MRIs or Xrays or any other tests to rule out other things, so that worries me too. And I hear you, I wouldn't want to just 'up the meds' either, especially if you don't feel like your doctor is listening to you.

No, I do not miss college! Good luck on your midterm :)

<FONT color=#0000ff>Waiting for appointment with rheumy (March 2009) to get an official dx. waiting, waiting, waiting....
Taking malic acid/magnesium combo, what a life saver! and amitriptyline

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 315
   Posted Yesterday 9:30 AM (GMT -6)   


It probably would be a good idea to see a Rheumy anyway. It's possible he/she might know more than your current doc and know more about different medications that could be used to try to help you. Also, they would know exactly what different tests to run. I don't know if you've had all sorts of blood work done. Did your GP run blood tests? Did that doc check you for all the tenderpoints and such? It just sounds to me like that doc isn't interested too much in trying to investigate things for you. So perhaps a Rheum might investigate more, or listen to you more. If you do see a Rheum, get copies of any tests you have had done, and make a list of all your symtoms. Also, try to think if your symptoms come on in relation to anything. Give good descriptions of your symptoms. Really describe what your pain feels like. If your pain is really bad, make sure to get that across. Tell them how the pain is affecting things in your life. Some descriptive pain words could be:  achy, deep achiness, sharp, shooting, crampy, bruise-like, throbbing, tingling, burning, etc. If you get worse while walking or going up & down steps, tell them that. Tell them if your legs feel heavy. Use good descriptions for your pain and try to be as specific as possible in pointing where you feel pain.

For example, (though this has nothing to do with Fibro, it's an example of how i've described some sciatic pain i've had):  I had sciatica that was so severe, my left foot was completely numb, no feeling in it, and I could not feel where the floor was. The nerve pain felt as if someone cut me open along the entire sciatic nerve path and felt like rubbing alcohol was being poured into the wound 24-7; The nerve pain in my ankle felt like someone was using an electric nail gun and shooting large nails into the side of my ankle. I've had pain inside my spine which felt like I was being compressed. My body felt as if I needed to hang upside down and be pulled apart to relieve my pain. I have Lupus and also been told I have Fibro. But i've had flares of severe fatigue and my legs felt as if they were cement blocks. I had such pain just going up one or two steps. Now I get really bad pain (and nerve pains) around my hips & down my legs. My entire pelvic girdle and sacroiliac areas hurts. When I stand or walk, it feels like a huge cement block or boulder is sitting on top of my pelvis. It's almost like a crushing compressive feeling.

But anyway, I hope this helps somewhat for you to try to think of good descriptions for your pain. And when you see a doctor and they ask how you're doing....don't say you're Okay! LOL Tell them you are in pain, you don't know why, and you want a doctor that will help you investigate and help try to treat it.

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