Managing Fibromyalgia In The Workplace

Are you dealing with chronic pain, unexplained malaise and other symptoms that make you believe something is wrong? Fibromyalgia is often hard to diagnose and is the root cause of general discomfort, accompanied by poor sleep, memory issues and mood unpredictability.

By Namami
02 Feb 2023

Fibromyalgia can cause musculoskeletal pain in the body along with fatigue, malaise, memory issues and poor sleep. It is also accompanied by several other mental health-related issues like anxiety and depression.

According to Dr Neha Chetty, a former physiotherapist at UR Life, Hyderabad, a thorough assessment and a comprehensive treatment plan is very important in the case of fibromyalgia. A lot of times, it gets wrongly diagnosed due to incorrect evaluation—leading to ineffective treatment and dissatisfaction of the patient.


Need all your wellness solutions in one place? A whole new world awaits just a click away.


What Causes Fibromyalgia?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (USA), fibromyalgia is a common chronic syndrome that can cause widespread body pain, fatigue, and cognitive issues. A person may confuse fibromyalgia symptoms with those of arthritis or joint inflammation.

There is no definite cause of fibromyalgia. It can be caused due to genetics, traumatic emotional or physical events, and sleep or mood disorders. Fibromyalgia can be diagnosed if a person suffers widespread pain for more than three months with no evident cause.


Related Story: What is it like living with Fibromyalgia—the invisible illness


How Is Fibromyalgia Treated?

It is crucial to implement healthy lifestyle changes that relieve musculoskeletal pain. Getting regular sleep, staying stress-free, eating healthy and exercising regularly are a few ways you manage fibromyalgia.

Two methods that are used for treating fibromyalgia are:

Drug Therapy: Doctor-prescribed painkillers may be suggested to reduce body pain. Patients may be given medications that treat depression and decrease psychological issues associated with fibromyalgia. Sedatives or sleep-inducing drugs may also be prescribed in some cases.

Psychological Therapy: This step includes regular counselling and talking sessions with experienced counsellors that can help you overcome stress and change your lifestyle towards a stress-free life.


Related Story: How to Be More Mindful At Work


Fibromyalgia Impacts Your Work And Emotions

Fibromyalgia is a severely debilitating condition that can restrict a person's capacity to work. According to a 2017 study titled ‘Work Ability in Fibromyalgia: An Update in the 21st Century’ by the National Library of Medicine, when comparing the work productivity between workers with fibromyalgia and workers without a musculoskeletal pain condition, work productivity loss was found to be significantly greater in workers with fibromyalgia than in pain-free workers.

  • Fibromyalgia pain happens in tender points like the back of the head, inner knees, outer elbows, neck and shoulders, outer hips and the upper chest.
  • Fibromyalgia pain is frequently described as a persistent dull aching that lasts three months. The soreness is felt on both sides of your body, as well as above and below your waist, to be termed extensive, resulting in trouble concentrating.
  • With symptoms ranging from severe pain throughout the body to mental fog and persistent weariness, it's no surprise that so many people are compelled to leave their jobs.
  • It’s crucial to remain aware of what fibromyalgia pain feels like, as the symptoms and pain are easily confused with other health issues like migraine.


Related story: The Power OF Mindful Breathing: Advantages And Easy Techniques You Should Know About


Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

1. Widespread musculoskeletal pain

The most common complaint of a fibromyalgia patient is widespread musculoskeletal pain in both the upper and lower extremities. Initially, the discomfort may be localised, typically in the neck and shoulders. The most common description of the pain is muscular discomfort, but patients may also complain of joint pain.


Related story: 5 Desk Exercise Equipment for Working Professionals


2. Sudden fatigue

The other symptom of fibromyalgia is sudden fatigue. Especially when waking up from sleep, but it is also around mid-afternoon. Physical activities may increase pain and fatigue, though inactivity for a prolonged period also increases the symptoms. Patients complain of morning stiffness after sleeping lightly with frequent awakenings. They feel unrefreshed in the morning even after completing 8-10 hours of sleep.


3. Cognitive disturbances

Often referenced as ‘fibro fog’, patients have difficulty with attention and doing tasks that require rapid or frequent changes in thought.


Related Story: 5 Easy Pregnancy Exercises To Ease Back Pain


4. General symptoms

Patients have headaches which include migraines and tension types. Patients often complain of paraesthesia (tingling sensation), particularly in both arms and legs. Fatigue, poor sleep quality, stiff joints, brain fog, dizziness and poor mental health are some general symptoms that you may experience with fibromyalgia.


Need all your wellness solutions in one place? A whole new world awaits just a click away.


Managing Fibromyalgia As A Working Professional

Many people with fibromyalgia work full-time. However, the chronic pain and fatigue associated with fibromyalgia frequently make it impossible to function optimally at work. Managing fibromyalgia is crucial to your productivity and comfort at work.

  • Rest when possible, and do not overwork yourself. This causes tension and can also cause a flare-up resulting in worsening of symptoms.
  • Monitor your stress levels
  • Keep time in your day to indulge in relaxing activities. These can include listening to music, talking to friends or journalling.
  • Understand what triggers the onset of your symptoms
  • Taking active breaks when working, like walking and stair climbing
  • Look into WFH/Hybrid working situations
  • Creating an optimal work environment like participating and encouraging collaboration
  • Don't be afraid to get professional help.
  • Take time to relax and rejuvenate by doing meditation and yoga
  • Set down a sleeping schedule and make an effort to support your circadian rhythm
  • Reduce pain through light exercise. This will also help improve your mood.

Understanding and receiving treatment for fibromyalgia is vital for your health. Ignoring the symptoms will lead to unwanted issues that may disrupt your work-life balance. A healthy combination of medicine, nutrition, and treatments such as yoga, regular massages, and cognitive behavioural therapy can relieve the symptoms and allow the patient to live a normal life.





Offering Holistic Corporate Wellness: UR.Life Occupational Health Centers

At Corporate Wellness, we help you to invest in your well-being through our seamless intervention medical programs. Our holistic wellness approach caters to all aspects of your well-being. This ensures that you can bring your whole self to work.

With UR.Life Corporate Wellness by your side, routine health check-ups will never be an issue. UR.Life’s Occupation Health Centers (OHC) are backed by advanced laboratory technologies, and with highly qualified experts/technicians, we’re committed to delivering trusted health records always.


Need all your wellness solutions in one place? A whole new world awaits just a click away.








Follow Us On Instagram