A Profile of Fibromyalgia (FM) in Occupational Environments

The effect of the occupational environment on fibromyalgic patients has not been well studied. Individuals (321) from across the United States completed a questionnaire regarding effects of their current and past occupations on their fibromyalgia.

Occupations with a high percentage of responders were general office workers (20%), health care providers (14%) and educators (11%). Of the respondents, 8% were unemployed. Activities reported to aggravate the symptoms of fibromyalgia were computer or typing (37%), prolonged sitting (37%), prolonged standing and walking (27%), stress (21%), heavy lifting and bending (19%) and repeated moving and lifting (18%). Activities that did not appear to exacerbate the symptoms of fibromyalgia included walking (19%), variable

light sedentary work (15%), teaching (8%), light desk work (6%) and phone work (6%).

Patients with fibromyalgia report that they do not tolerate prolonged, repetitive activities, maintaining any one position for sustained periods of time and jobs with high stress. Light sedentary occupations that allow varied tasks and changing positions appear to be tolerated the best.

Waylonis GW, Ronan PG, Gordon C

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