Despite the very real and well-documented nature of fibromyalgia, people with fibromyalgia syndrome still face an uphill battle when it comes to getting their disease validated, let alone properly diagnosed and treated. In the conventional medical model there are very few fibromyalgia specialists and fibromyalgia is currently considered a chronic disease of unknown etiology that is difficult to diagnose and treat. It still carries the stigma of not being a “real disease,” or of being a purely psychological disease, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
The symptoms of fibromyalgia—chronic widespread pain, fatigue, brain-fog, and sleep disturbances—are often invisible to outsiders and easily discounted. This aspect of invisibility, especially when combined with the conventional medical system’s poor understanding and handling of fibromyalgia, leaves many patients feeling hopeless and wondering if they will ever get the care and support they truly need to heal.
Excellent fibromyalgia specialists come from many disciplines
It is important for those suffering from this very disabling medical condition to know that there are healthcare providers with many different types of backgrounds, experience, and training who are fibromyalgia specialists. Some fibromyalgia specialists are MD’s working within the conventional medical system, typically Rheumatologists or specialists in Pain Medicine. Others are MD’s who have trained in integrative medicine modalities such as Functional Medicine and now practice medicine that is not limited to the mainstream system only. Naturopathic physicians who are licensed ND’s may also specialize in treating fibromyalgia, as do some chiropractors, advanced nurse practitioners, psychologists, nutritionists, physical therapists, and acupuncturists.
Multiple treatments simultaneously
There are now studies showing that therapies offered within each of these various modalities can be very helpful for fibromyalgia treatment. Whatever treatment options you explore, however, keep in mind that it is highly unlikely that just one type of treatment, whether it is a conventional drug or a handful of different supplements, will cure all. Studies indicate that fibromyalgia is not only caused by multiple factors but it requires multiple healing strategies. In the world of natural and integrative medicine, practitioners report the best and most consistent results with the use of treatments for underlying small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), impaired mitochondrial function, oxidative stress, nutritional deficiencies, HPA-axis disturbances, and impaired detoxification.
Integrated natural treatments for fibromyalgia
No matter what type of fibromyalgia specialist you choose, the best results seem to come from the simultaneous use of multiple therapies and modalities combined. This type of integrative approach typically combines different treatments aimed at body, mind, and spirit, since all these aspects of health are affected by fibromyalgia. They often include lifestyle adjustments and require an active role by the patient as well as the provider. Treatments often focus on these underlying factors and typically include dietary modification and supplements including vitamins and minerals (especially vitamin D3 and magnesium), tryptophan/5-HTP, CoQ10, probiotics, D-ribose, acetyl-L-carnitine, and antimicrobials to treat bacterial overgrowth in the GI tract.. Integrative and natural treatments also include physical modalities such as chiropractic, acupuncture, and water therapies.
How to find a healthcare provider who specializes in fibromyalgia
If you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia or think you might have it based on your widespread pain and other chronic symptoms, it is worth it to seek out a fibromyalgia specialist who understands the multi-faceted nature of this disabling disease and who cares about maximizing your response to treatment. You can find practitioners who specialize in fibromyalgia and fit this description by using our Directory Listings and choosing “Fibromyalgia” under “Additional Practice Specialty.”
Have you consulted with any type of fibromyalgia specialist? What type of practitioner was it, what did they recommend, and was it helpful? Help other fibromyalgia sufferers by commenting below.