Don't Tell An ER Doctor You Have Fibromyalgia!

So I have found that the worst thing you can tell an emergency room doctor is that you have fibromyalgia!  I have rheumatoid arthritis as well, I can tell them I have that, but if I go in saying I'm in a lot of pain from fibro - well you might as well walk right back out the door untreated because they are going to look at you like either you are faking it for attention or are a "drug seeker" - neither of which, am I.

I had an ER doctor actually tell my husband and myself that fibromyalgia is all in your head and that it is caused by a chemical brain imbalance.  That I needed to see a psychiatrist, stop taking all my meds for fibro (especially pain medications) and start being treated for - well... being crazy!  I told my family doctor (she also had a student doing rounds with her that day) they were both taken aback, totally shocked.

The worst part - this "doctor" told my husband all this - any one of you with fibro knows how hard it is to explain what is wrong with you to a spouse since they can't see what hurts.  This made my husband question a lot of what I had told him and what my other doctors had said.  NIIIIICE!  Thanks.

So be careful when you go to an ER for anything, in mentioning the fibro.  I no longer even mention that word in an ER.

Anyone else have that type of experience?
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22 Responses Feb 7, 2012

Absolutely! I have been labeled a "drug-seeker" at every local hospital I've gone to. That label could not be farther from the truth. How does a person get that removed?

My old dr doesn't believe in fibromyalgia. My new dr did all kinds of tests along with the rheumatologist. They both agreed it was fibromyalgia.
I did go to ER before I was diagnosed with it and they said it was neuropathy.
I went to a pain management clinic last year. They diagnosed me wirh fibro last October. They never tokd me till april of this year. They never eveb treated me for it.
Needless to say I dumped them and found the dr I have now and he's great.

Yeah. Stay out of the ER. My ER.
Look across the curtained gurneys at the people who were in car wrecks, head injuries, etc. Go play somewhere else. EVERYBODY has fibromyalgia. Take a pill, a hot bath, and get a massage. Don't take up a gurney.

**** you u SOB. Nurses are fat and sit at the station all day long eating.

Yep, the Er "Dr" said I was a narcotic addict looking for another fix and sent me home with meningitis came back 3 days layer and spent 5 days in ICU, couldn't remember 6 days of my life, and another 9 days in the hospital... I had told him I had Fibromyalgia... nice right... he is still working at that same hospital...

Omg, so I went to the ER and I told them I'm in pain and I have fibro they were just like I'm going to send you the counsellor and I went home untreated.

You're exactly right!! When people ask me now if I think they have fibromyalgia I tell them maybe but whatever you do don't get diagnosed with it. It's almost impossible to find a doc who will treat you.

Yes, I've also been to the ER for treatment for severe fibromyalgia flare ups. I was treated like a common drug addict. So not right! That is my reason for not going to the hospital emergency room.

You are correct. I too have had that happen to me. I was home alone and my blood pressure spiked for no known reason to me, heart racing, feeling lightheaded with some discomfort in my chest. I went to the ER to have my pressure checked and before you know it they were running an EKG. Then they said that I should stay for observation. Filling out the paperwork and the doctors coming in to talk I mentioned Fibromyalgia and one the doctors said straight, "don't tell people you have Fibromyalgia - that's not a condition". And you're right. They treat you different from that point on. Took longer to come to my room to check on me. I was released the following day that there was nothing wrong with me - I'm glad - but no explanation why I was there in the first place. They even took their time when they were releasing me. I could have walked out and they probably wouldn't have missed me.

thanks, shellee! i was able to get to my np today and she gave me what i needed. i live in a small city in upstate ny. only 1 er unless i want to drive 1/2 hr. then it will REALLY look like i'm drug seeking!! lol

i went to er this weekend because of an ankle injury. it turned out to be a sprain, but because i am a fibro person, the pain is worse. er dr gave me a script for motrin 600mg. i explained i have fibro and that motrin does not relieve pain for me. he said he could not give me narcotics because i am a fibro patient!!!! i do take timed release morphine for the fibro, but that does NOT WORK for acute pain. now, because of the stress i am in a fibro flare. i wish i could afford to sue!

When I went to the pain management clinic they gave me oxycodone for pain. When I left the clinic because of they neglegence my new dr weaned me off them. He said it wasn't good to take narcotics for fibro. I take 1200mg of gabapentin a day, 60mg of cymbalta, 25mg of meloxicam, tazadine (muscle relaxers), as needed and zolpidem at night for sleeping. Seems to work but I still get flare ups but not as bad.

Oh that's horrible...I go to ER where I had my surgeries, Ive been there (ER) at least 7x due to horrifying pain & I tell them about my lupus & fibro and although it at times takes an hour before I get relief, they have always taken care of me real good. So sorry for what you've been through..hope this message reaches you in a satisfying stage of well being😊

I can see the point of the ER doctor. Once they admit they can do nothing for you, you are just wasting their time. It's not his fault he doesn't know what to do about fibromyalgia.<br />
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I think our real beef is with the researchers, for not figuring out what this is and what to do about it. Actually, make that the people who decide what gets researched - I'm sure a lot of folks would like to research it if there were funding available.

You sure that its fibromyalgia and not lymes disease ?

It IS hard enough to get spouses to understand the pain we feel...mine tries harder now a days, but still can't understand why I can't just hop up and do things. And don't even get me started on intimate issues. :( <br />
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I do feel your pain (literally) and I'm sorry some sorry a**hole had to treat you that way. My hubby probably would have walked off to keep from popping him in the mouth.

WOW.. this exchange is ******* me off and scaring me. I can't believe that these doctors have treated you guys like that. That is EXACTLY what brought me to tears when my Rheumatologist told me that they are falling back on Fibromyalgia as a "temporary" diagnosis until they come up with something else. I have heard how people respond to that diagnosis. There is a horribly negative stigma attached to it. I am in shock over the ER doctor's post above. What an ***. (trying to keep it clean). You should be reported. Maybe you have and I just need to read on further.

EXACTLY!!!! Post your name, coward!

Fibromyalgia is not an emergent condition. You are getting in the way of me treating people with heart attacks & strokes, not to mention babies with meningitis and seizures. You are the reason people die in ER waiting rooms. Go see a pain clinic or get stronger/more narcs fom your regular doctor for when you have breakthrough pain. It is not appropriate to come to an ER for fibromyalgia exacerbations. Please stay out of my ER, and let me treat really sick, dying people. - an ER doctor

I do treat any and all patients that come into my ER. That doesn't mean that the patient belongs in the ER. And no, I don't think that RA exacerbations belong in the ER either. RA and fibromyalgia are chronic, so it should be no surprise to the patient that flare ups will happen. My question to you is: why can't you just get your regular doc to prescribe you appropriate pain meds for these expected flare ups? Why do you need an ER bed?

Maybe because with fibro flare ups some people experience symptoms of a heart attack or stroke. We aren't sure if its the flare up ir the real deal but I for one am not going to just sit home and hope its not the real deal.

Really? You are an ***. You obviously do not know what you are talking about.I live in hell(my body) By the time they found me lying on the shower floor, I was 2 minutes from being dead because I could no longer deal with the pain, depression, insomnia. When I came out of the coma 2 days later I was in ICU. I COULD NOT PHYSICALLY MOVE MY LEGS because of this little "exacerbation." She is right. Doctors like you are pathetic.

we would love to stay out of the ER. maybe you could do us a favor and suggest to the primary care or our other specialists to be available when we call. your gracious ER would not be so busy if they stopped referring us to the ER. even when we go to an urgent care they refer us to the ER. I do not know how many years of experience you have but you might want to add this little piece of information to it - we are not trained medical professionals (and I use that term loosely) so acute pain to us is cause for concern. striking chest pain along with pain in the left arm causes concern. unknown pain along your jaw. pain in your hips so badly you can not lie in bed to sleep and our primary care is either unavailable or passes the buck over to you. we will come to your blooming ER where we don' t want to be since we don' t know what's wrong. so the least you can do is to be a little more understanding. Perhaps we should leave that piece of information out when we are filling out the medical forms on checking in. Then you would have no choice but to perform a series of tests to diagnose the problem and in the meantime prescribe pain meds. Who knows you might be the one to solve the FB mystery.

Well this is a year late but Mr. ER DR let me inform you of some LEGAL issues, etc... I am a Fibro sufferer, I am a Law School Student. You are a Dr. SWORN, yes SWORN to HELP others, correct? Now are you a renowned scholar on Fibro? Have you done clinicals in relation to such? I' am assuming you have not, correct again? OK so here are some MEDICAL FACTS...Fibro can cause dizziness, muscles to stimulate on their own to which the person can feel like they are losing strength in the extremities, they can pass out from pain and / or the hot and cold spells that hit harder then menopausal hot flashes, (i should know), it can send shockwaves of nerve pain with every tiny heartbeat thru a persons body. Now...most chronic pain sufferers are not drug addicts but when we have flares we cannot sleep, eat, walk, of course we sometimes go through our medications faster. (say 2 extra a day than usual can make you run out before scheduled visit, refill or even on the wkend!) So if a PT brings her/his medical records, proving the ARENT seeking drugs...thats a bad thing to help them for 5-24 pills to get them thru until Monday or Tuesday? How about the nurses I hear blabbing on about PT's when they think we cannot hear? Maybe thats why YOUR PT's are dying. Honestly you should give your name out..oh and the legal stuff....I or anyone else could SUE YOUR BUTT for not helping...all it takes is a shark for a lawyer. Just remember that Mr compassionate dollar chaser.

You know, I've walked in a ER and been refused b/c of my fibro as well...AND SLE Lupus. Let me tell you this, Doc whatever you are, I can screen-shot this one convo, this one statement -"You are the reason people die in ER waiting rooms. Go see a pain clinic or get stronger/more narcs fom your regular doctor for when you have breakthrough pain. It is not appropriate to come to an ER for fibromyalgia exacerbations. Please stay out of my ER, and let me treat really sick, dying people." - and since you signed into this with your email I can have this delivered to your hospital and your license will be a paperweight so fast you'll be flipping burgers with your empty clipboard before you can refuse another patient service AGAINST the oath u took as a professional doc ever again. Do you understand me? Nothing on the internet is private, you imbecile.

No, it is dismissive doctors such as yourself that kill patients. Due to hearing that I have fibromyalgia I've had doctors dismiss me when my appendix was getting ready to rupture, I couldn't get gallstones diagnosed for 8 years until it got so severe that my pancreas was damaged, I tore ligaments in my knee and was told it was a sprain, I had a doctor refuse to check my thyroid when I was going severely hyperthyroid and prescribed me with an antianxiety drug...I could go on and on.

So us folks with fibro continue going to the doctor and get blown off or misdiagnosed, problems get bigger and we go to the ER and we get blown off or misdiagnosed by idiots like you and the cycle continues like that for YEARS.

In the meantime we struggle through pain that you couldn't imagine and sometimes we mistake that pain for something other than fibro, often the symptoms mimic something urgent and we end up feeling like a moron when we discover that it was that damn fibro again.

So tell me, should we simply not go to the er when we have the symptoms of a heart attack because it might just be fibro? Do we ignore symptoms of a rupturing appendix or plenty of other serious issues because it might be fibro? That is the kind of choice we make each time we go in. And each time we run into a doctor like you we become less and less likely to go in for an emergency. So instead of looking at us as whiners getting in the way of the "real" patients, think about the confusing messages our body and neurological systems are giving us, messages that we have no control over and stop being such an ***.

4 More Responses

That's horrible. Im sorry. My husband would have done the same thing unfortunately. I don't even think he believes the pain i am in now. I haven't been diagnosed yet but i have an appt coming up soon. I figured if i am diagnosed i will tell him then.

Hi everyone, yess I,m new here too. Shellleebrooks when I saw your post. I thought, at last someone who thinks like I do. You are so right. I have come out of er, wanting to throw myself under a bus. They made me feel worthless.

I hear ya, I really do. Here where I live, we have two 'Christian' hospitals. Not knocking religion or anything, but if they would actually take me serious for ONCE I would probably pass out in relief. These places dont want to give you ANY kind of pain killer unless you have a bone sticking out of your leg.

Hello I am new to this site but, I had to write to u because I myself went to the er tonight with severe pain, tingling and burning sensation. And they treating me like a drug addit (nothing new too me) and told me there was nothing they could do. Funny haaaaaaa, I really didn't think that there could possibly be drs like that but, guess what there is...I have fibromylagia since 2005 but, was finally diagnose in 2009. Cruel but, true this is the worst pain that I have ever felt in my life. I don't think that there is anything worst then this disease for me. I hope not. I have been through alot of things in my life but, this 1 has kick my I hope that tomorrow brings me a little bit of happiness without so much pain. I wish every1 the

I can understand your pain and frustration...I agree , have been there...and yes it is hard to explain to a spouse and family members what we go thru with the pain and the fact that it is not always accepted as a REAL disease or condition. I am a member of an awesome support group for people who have fibromyalgia on is a private group in which you can vent your frustrations, talk with others who understand and get to know them and more about your fibro....If you would like I can give you the info on how to join the group. Feather hugs to you....hoping you are feeling better...

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I'm so sorry you had this experience! How hurtful and frustrating. That doctor is beyond ignorant and sounds like he/she has some hidden agenda or personal issue, and unfortunately hurt you with it. And how sad you have to say you have pain from RA - a "real," recognized disease - and not FMS or you're MIStreated like a drug addict. <br />
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Please take care of yourself. Don't give up or stop advocating for yourself.