Pain Management Doctor VERSUS Neurologist/Rheumi. What's your vote and why?

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Brain Fart Lifer
New Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 1/16/2009 1:16 PM (GMT -7)   
Which doctor is better to see for fibro? Pain Management Doctor or Neurologist? Does it matter?

My History:

Diagnosed with Fibro from a Rheumologist and Neurologist. Starting Lyrica this week.

My main problem is that I have a constant neck pain - crunching/cracking, tightening swollen like tendons in my neck. Mornings are horrible. I can crack it every minute throughout the day turning my head to the right. Sometimes during the day I can crack it really hard. It has gotten worse the past 6-12 months (no tragic changes in my life). The tightening, swollen tendon feeling pushes by head forward and down and it's a constant 24/7 pain. Prior to that for about 5+ years I have had left shoulder pain and lower back pain. Lower back pain is occasional now - somehow it got better after my hysterectomy 4 1/2 years ago (weird). I can't lay on one side more than 10 mins. I get cramped up and a shooting pain across shoulders. I use a "bed buddy" moist heat just about every night. I work at a computer all day (Admin. Assistant) so it makes my condition worse. I also have trouble getting to sleep and wake up at 3:00 & 5:00. I've used feather down pillows before. Now I've switched back to a neck indented memory foam pillow - which seems to help me sleep a little better. I have Ambien CR; however, everytime I take it my body craves it the next night and I can't sleep. I don't want to take it every night since the side effect is memory loss and your body DOES get addicted to it. I have tingling in my hands and when I raise a drinking glass my hands tremble. I have trouble with the other fibro areas. By the end of a work week, I'm done and can't wait to rest and sleep a lot on Saturday.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions/input!
39 year old female. Not overweight, non-smoker, non-drug user, occasional drinker
Diagnosis: Fibro, TMJ, IBS w/constipation, Sinus, some anxiety/depression, trouble sleeping
X-rays -normal, shock test of nerves-normal, bloodwork including thyroid/lyme-normal
Doctor: Neurologist
Current Meds: Lyrica 50 mg./3 times a day, Ambien, Nasarel nose spray for sinuses
Former Meds: Cymbalta, Nortriptyline, Lexapro, Percocet
Supplements: Multi vitamin, B-12, Omega3, Psyllium Husk for constipation

Post Edited (mermaid4shore) : 1/16/2009 1:51:25 PM (GMT-7)

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 176
   Posted 1/16/2009 3:19 PM (GMT -7)   
You know what, Mermaid, that is a very good question to ask... I have been actually wondering which one to go to too, a pain doctor or a rheumy, like I'm going to now.
Sorry I don't have an answer but I'm sure others will be along to share with us what they think...
Thank you for asking this. And good luck.
21 years old
Fibromyalgia, Bipolar Disorder, OCD, Irrational fears

MT Lady
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 969
   Posted 1/16/2009 3:38 PM (GMT -7)   
I have been seeing a rheumy for over 20 years now, but I often wonder if a pain doc would be better. Even though my doc has been pretty good about handing out pain meds, I believe if you go to a pain clinic, they are just more use to prescribing pain meds. I'm curious to see others thoughts

Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, scoliosis, back problems, hypothyroidism.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 1522
   Posted 1/16/2009 10:12 PM (GMT -7)   
In my experience, it depends on the actual doctor. Some pain management docs won't do much for a fibro patient, some won't even see them. Some people get the most help from their PCP's and others from their rheumies. Some people can't find anyone to help them.

I don't think it is very common for a neurologist to treat fibro.

If you like the doc, and whatever they do helps, then that is the doc for you.

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 257
   Posted 1/16/2009 10:42 PM (GMT -7)   
Not having any experience with pain management specialists, I cannot justly compare the two.

However, I do like my rheumy, as I feel that he is capable of diagnosing other problems, or being able to identify if the symptoms I'm describing have anything to do with fibro or not. I'm not sure if a pain manager would be able to do that or not? Also, I have had no issues with my scripts to date and I really don't want to go to somewhere else where they might be more restrictive or something.

In my humble opinion,
Still learning how to manage my Fibromylagia, and all the lovely gifts it brings.   
I had severe spinal stenosis, had fusion done on C5-7, and my life has changed. 

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 368
   Posted 1/17/2009 1:50 AM (GMT -7)   
I saw a reumatologist who said he didnt treat fibro, then I saw pain spec who told me to excersize then I saw another pain spec who thank god put me on a decent pain med I was desperated a that time.  I think it is pot luck, though if its meds your after I dont think rheumys do much. Oh I also saw neurologist who diagnosed me but did nothing.  Good luck....sue2z

Fibromyalgia, ulcerative colonitus, arthritus, bi-polar
norspan patch, valium, prothiedon, lyrica

Terrie B
Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 90
   Posted 1/17/2009 7:52 PM (GMT -7)   
If you can find a pain doc that also treats fibro pain, it would be so beneficial to you! I happen to have been seeing a pain doc when my fibro reared it's ugly head and he treats me for my back pain AND my fibro symptoms. They kinda run together for me though...

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 257
   Posted 1/17/2009 7:57 PM (GMT -7)   
Again, I don't know anything about a pain mgmt specialist, but I do beg to differ when it comes what a rheumy will or won't do for you: mine has and continues to work with me on all my meds, including painkillers, anti-convulsant/depressants as needed, Vitamin D for my deficiency. HTH...
Still learning how to manage my Fibromylagia, and all the lovely gifts it brings.   
I had severe spinal stenosis, had fusion done on C5-7, and my life has changed. 

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