Approaching a doctor...?

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doomdog21
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 8/18/2009 6:08 PM (GMT -7)   
How would you go about asking a doctor if you have fibromyalgia? Or at least investigating to see if your symptoms have any other possible causes? I think I'm afraid of getting an "it's all in your head" or "you're just being a hypochondriac" response.

I'm in the Army, so I'm reasonably physically active, but I've cycled through injury after "injury" - something always seems to be hurting, but most of the time the doctors can't find anything physically wrong. I have trouble walking long distances or running, and I was eventually "diagnosed" with compartment syndrome (fascial constriction of the lower legs) because I would get pins and needles in my feet, and my calves would cramp badly whenever I exercised (or... you know, walked from my desk at work to the bathroom or something). Some days I feel perfectly fine, but other days I can barely get around enough to get through a normal day. I was never given the diagnostic test for compartment syndrome, so it's more of a best guess diagnosis than a sure thing.

I also have really bad fatigue. Like, sleeping 16 hours a day and barely being able to get out of bed to bathe, eat, and let my dogs out for an entire four day weekend. I do have mild hypothyroidism, and my medication has helped somewhat (I can get myself to work on time 9 days out of 10 now, and mostly can stay awake while I'm there). My labwork is completely normal on a very low dosage of synthroid, but I'm still exhausted most of the time. Every now and then I'll have a day or two where I feel great and get loads of things done, but then I'll go back to being almost dead for a few weeks or so.

As far as tender points go - I mostly notice that sometimes my cat or a dog or one of my friends will touch me - not even hard or anything - and it'll feel like a knife stabbing all the way to the bone. I'll be 110% sure that it's going to bruise, but it never does. Using one of those charts you can find online, I can usually find a spot near all of the ones shown, but every chart seems to vary slightly as to the exact location of the expected tender point so it's hard for me to tell if that's actually indicative of something. The thing is, that I've been sensitive like that for as long as I can remember - I always thought that everyone had pressure points and such that will hurt if you hit them just right... Is it really a symptom unique to fibromyalgia - most people really don't have those kind of tender spots?

There are other things that I've seen mentioned as symptoms - tmj, ibs... but I've never thought that they could be interconnected with anything else that's going on with me... it's just how my body *is*, you know?

Should I approach my doctor about this? Could it still be my thyroid, or a vitamin deficiency, or something else? Does it even sound like fibromyalgia, or is it just something that sounds good in my head because I've been reading too many medsites? Is there even a benefit to being diagnosed if I do have it? Are there treatments available that actually work, or does it just end up as a footnote in your medical records "you have x... bummer. Have a nice life."?

Well, um, thank you anyone who has the patience to read through this monster post and I appreciate any responses that I receive.

Leanne

Jhemi
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 223
   Posted 8/18/2009 6:17 PM (GMT -7)   
It sounds very much like Fibromyalgia to me. I'm not at all sure how you would approach a military doctor about this though. All of my military doctor experience was from about 20 years ago and although we've come a long way since then for some odd reason it seems the military stays the same. I will say this. My husband is retired and we are on Tri-Care and they have no problem paying for my Fibro treatment and diagnosis.

If you do bring it up to a doctor there you may tell him you need to see a rheumatologist about this.

Sherrine
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 17094
   Posted 8/18/2009 6:37 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi, Leanne, and welcome!  It sounds like you could possibly have fibromyalgia.  Also there is another problem called myofascial pain syndrome.  When you mentioned the fascial constriction, I automatically thought of that.  Here is a link to a post I made several days about about this illness.  Read it and see what you think.
 
 
People with fibro usually have pain in the back, shoulders, and neck along with fatigue and pain elsewhere.  Many have TMJ and IBS, too.  We also can have hypothyroidism.
 
People with fibromyalgia can be deficient in vitamin D.  That can cause pain and fatigue.  I live in Florida and thought I wouldn't have to worry about that but I was still deficient in D and I am now having to take 3,500 IU a day to keep my levels in the low-normal range.  Also, many with fibromyalgia are deficient in malic acid and magnesium so I take supplements and this has helped me with pain and fatigue.  They don't work for everyone but they have helped me.
 
Be sure to check out the Fibro 101 thread...the first thread on the forum.  There are links to good information about fibromyalgia including a list of symptoms, a link about Myofascial Pain Syndrome, Vitamin D supplements, malic acid/magnesium supplements and how they work in your body, and also a link called What Else Could It Be?  There are good stretching exercises that can help you and all sorts of good information on that thread.  You just might see yourself there.
 
If you do think this is what is going on, you could print out some information and take it with you when you go to see your doctor.  Also, keep a daily journal about how you are feeling.  This will help your doctor, too.  I do hope your doctor believes that fibromyalgia exists.  If they don't and you have access to more doctors, then get a doctor that does understand and treat patients with fibro.
 
I'm so glad that you found us and joined in.  Don't hesitate to ask questions because we are here to help you.  Try and read back posts, too.  There is a world of information in them, too.  Please let us know what you find out, too.  We really do care about you.  I hope to hear more from you soon.
 
Sherrine 


Forum Moderator/ Fibromyalgia
***********************
Fibromyalgia, Crohn's Disease, Ostomy, Diabetes, Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease, Osteoporosis
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.    2 Timothy 1:7

Post Edited (Sherrine) : 8/18/2009 7:41:16 PM (GMT-6)


Hara
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 900
   Posted 8/19/2009 12:13 PM (GMT -7)   
Leanne, I would have your doctor check your iron level that can also contribute to some of your fatigue. I know my Anemia (iron level) contributed alot to my constant fatigue. I'm on 1300mg a day right at the moment. I am finally feeling better. I'm also working on finding the right kind of herbs and dosage to help me with getting to sleep and with my pain. I have found that ginger is good for my inflamation and energy and clove is good for my pain and helps me get to sleep. I have a few other herbs I'm working with.
 
Just a word of caution before you try anything like herbal remedies ask your herbalologist at your nearest herb store. They will know or they should to even work with herbs. I'm learning also about herbs and their different functions.
 
HARA

American Woman
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 96
   Posted 8/19/2009 3:21 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Leanne and welcome
I think I was lucky with the dr that I have. he is my pcp and he did all the tests that he could do then he sent me to an endocrinologist for tests and then to a rheumatologist who then diagnosed me with FM. I went to the dr. because I was fatigued all the time and couldn't sleep and was always hurting.
The way you are explainiing how you feel is just how I felt, (and probably alot on this forum)
When I started posting on here and felt the concern and compassion from the people, it has made having to deal with this syndrome alot easier. I hope you get some answers and don't be afraid to ask your dr. questions about anything. After all he is working for us. Good Luck to you and keep posting, you'll get lots of good feedback.
American Woman

Littlesrebel
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 163
   Posted 8/20/2009 8:41 PM (GMT -7)   

Sounds like fibromyalgia. Get the referral to rheumatology ASAP. Just ask for the referral. Send the Dr. an e-mail or a message tomorrow. Tell the Dr. your in pain. Also get the referral for pain management Dr. and neurology for the meds. management.

Don't be shy. Demand it. It's your body and it's your right to get medical treatment. Read up on FM and Chronic Myofascial Pain Syndrome.

Good luck on your quest for the answer. Mine was painstaking and took yrs. Now I don't take bleep from no Dr. It's my health not their's.

Thanks for being a soldier for our Country. God Bless You.


Fibromyalgia, Chronic Myofacial pain syndrome, Malaise, Fatigue, Migranes, Cervicalgia.
 
 
 


Littlesrebel
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 163
   Posted 8/20/2009 8:43 PM (GMT -7)   
By the way have the Dr's run all the lab tests on you, EKG, ECO, blood work, CT, MRI, etc. to rule out anything else. Again Good Luck on the journey. yeah
Fibromyalgia, Chronic Myofacial pain syndrome, Malaise, Fatigue, Migranes, Cervicalgia.
 
 
 


doomdog21
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 8/21/2009 5:53 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for all of your responses everybody :)

I made an appointment to see my primary care physician on Monday. I plan to bring up *all* of my symptoms (I've always gone to the doctor about one problem at a time, usually whatever is bothering me the most at that time. If it is fibro, then that's definitely the wrong approach, because all or most of my health problems would be interconnected instead of isolated issues) and gently suggest investigating for fibromyalgia or some other syndrome/disease that fits all of my symptoms instead of just one or two.

Thankfully, I have a good doctor, who is willing to really listen even if that means going over the scheduled 15-minute appointment time-frame. I know he'll want to run tests - when we were originally investigating my fatigue, before discovering my thyroid problem, he mentioned sleep studies and a number of possible syndromes/diseases (including sleep apnea, chronic fatigue syndrome, and some others). And I'm sure he'll want to double-check my blood work to make sure my synthroid dosage is right. I'm very comfortable knowing that he will be thorough :)

I guess it's just hard to get over that mental hurdle of "is it real, or is it just in my head?" especially in the military where it's expected that if anything is wrong with you, it's just a symptom of too much bodyfat, dehydration, and not enough PT (unless, of course, you're actually missing a limb or have a cast on or something). There's a very real feeling in the Army that if you can't *see* what's wrong, then you must be faking. Not all of the medical folk feel this way (thank god, right?), but it's definitely there, and it's hard to get over that hurdle and seek help.

Thank you again for your responses and encouragement. I'll update later and let you know how things go.

Leanne

sjkly
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 2113
   Posted 8/21/2009 6:35 PM (GMT -7)   
Definetly get a referal to a rhuematologist-if possible do some research on your own first then ask for the referal to the best doctor.
Do not go the rhuemy and say I think I have fibromyalgia-it may cause your doctor to miss something.  A friend of mine had her rhuemy tell her she had fibro on her first visit but the data did not add up-sent her to my rhuemy who diagnosed her with polymyalgia and she is now being treated effectively with prednisone.
 
Tell your doctor your symptoms-all of them-even if you don't think they are relavent.  They are all relavent and something very minor-like how you responded to the medrol dose pack you were given for poison ivy six months ago-may be the clue that helps your doc differentiate between autoimmune disorders-they all overlap so much.
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