How Do I talk to my Doctor About Getting Referred to a Specialist?

Dec 02, 2018

Anonymous asks, quote:

How do you go about talking to a doctor about getting a referral to a specialist (like a rheumatologist)? I’m getting tired of this constant, awful joint pain and I want to get something done about it. But, I’m worried they’ll think it’s just part of my fibromyalgia and not something more.

end quote.

When scheduling an appointment with your doctor’s office, tell them that you want to schedule an office visit to get a referral to a rheumatologist.

When you speak to your doctor, explain your symptoms as clearly and precisely as you can. Talk about the type and severity of pain you're experiencing, what kinds of stimuli make the pain better or worse, and how many times a week you experience pain. Talk about how the pain does or does not respond to any medications you are on.

And then comes the most important bit: directly request a referral to a rheumatologist. Ask who they recommend and what steps you should take to set up an appointment. Any reasonable doctor should be fine with this. After all, you’re just asking to see a more specialized medical professional, not asking for drugs or treatment they don’t recommend.

There is no harm in talking to your doctor about symptoms you’re experiencing. Medicine is all about problem solving and the more open, honest, and clear you are with your doctor the more likely they are to find a solution.