Talking to health care professionals about fibromyalgia

We asked people about their interactions and discussions with health care professionals. Views were mixed. Some people felt believed, listened to and taken seriously. They spoke about developing good relationships with health care professionals, having time to ask questions and working through problems together (see also How to improve care for fibromyalgia).

Chris says his doctor is very empathetic to fibromyalgia and that they communicate to him that they are listening.

Age at interview 58

Age at diagnosis 43

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Catherine feels well supported at a clinic she attends for another condition. She trusts her GP and feels that he listens. For her, this is a big thing.

Age at interview 67

Age at diagnosis 64

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Rachel values the time her GP gives her during consultations: she wasn’t sat at the computer screen, tapping away and not engaging

Age at interview 31

Age at diagnosis 29

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People also valued it when their doctor was honest with them, working collaboratively with them to try to find things that help.

Susan describes the specialist she saw as being very honest and transparent.

Age at interview 54

Age at diagnosis 48

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However, a common concern was that health professionals often don’t have sufficient time for discussions about how you feel, and that consultations can feel rushed.

Several people felt that some health professionals ‘don’t think fibromyalgia is a thing’ and can appear dismissive – so it can be difficult to develop a good relationship with them and get answers to questions. It was quite common for people to feel like they were just given a leaflet and sent away with not much else after they were diagnosed.

Audra wishes she could talk to someone who was knowledgeable and understanding about fibromyalgia.

Age at interview 53

Age at diagnosis 51

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George feels that some doctors are not knowledgeable about fibromyalgia.

Age at interview 64

Age at diagnosis 50

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Chrissie says that some GPs can be very quick to get people out of the door.

Age at interview 27

Age at diagnosis 23

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People recognised that there are very few effective treatments for fibromyalgia and understood that there was not always much their doctors could do. They valued being referred to other sources of help, including support groups, counselling and in some cases a pain clinic.

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