In an effort to better identify the limitations women with fibromyalgia (FM) face in their work environment, a questionnaire was mailed out to 218 women who were being seen at a university pain or rheumatology clinic. Out of the 218, 176 women responded.
The women were asked questions about their social background, symptoms, sickness benefits, work situation, work conditions and adjustments, opinions regarding their work ability, and satisfaction with their work situation. The women all reported symptoms common to FM (i.e. pain, poor quality sleep, etc.). In addition, 50% of the women were employed – 15% full-time. Twenty-three percent reported FM as the reason for not working. For those working, 58% reported that they had changed their work situation, while 80% hoped to continue working.
From these questionnaires, researchers found that work disability is a serious concern in women with FM. The majority of women polled were limited in their ability to work but those who were able to tailor their jobs to suit their current limitations were more likely to continue in their jobs with a high level of satisfaction. The results indicated that adjustments in the work place were needed as soon as illness is detected.