Session Title: Clinical Practice/Patient Care
Session Type: Abstract Submissions (ARHP)
Background/Purpose: Many patients with the fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) bring in disability forms for the practitioner to fill out or have Social Security Disability applications requesting medical records mailed to the office. We asked a group of patients with fibromyalgia whether they were capable of working full-time or part-time and what strategies they use to continue working, if they are able to.
Methods: 76 office patients with FMS (68 women and 8 men; mean age 50 ± 13) completed a questionnaire about the impact of FMS on their ability to work.
Results: 48.7% were not working, 38.2% were working full-time, and 13.2% were working part-time. The reasons for not working were: FMS, 51.4%; medical problems other than FMS, 43.2%; choice, 21.6%; retired, 16.2%; childcare or other homecare responsibilities, 5.4%. The reasons for working part-time instead of full-time were: choice, 70.0%; FMS, 30.0%; medical problems other than FMS, 10.0%. Non-working respondents who were asked how FMS affected their ability to work provided the following responses: so much pain that it limited their ability to work, 54.1%; so fatigued that they couldn’t work the required number of hours, 48.6%; difficulty focusing or concentrating, 45.9%; frequently late to work or miss too much work, 13.5%; employers not sensitive to FMS impairments, 13.5%. Working respondents who were asked how they were able to work with FMS provided the following responses: not giving in to FMS, 64.1%; staying busy, 53.8%; keeping a positive attitude, 48.7%; exercise, 38.5%; eating well, 38.5%; getting enough sleep, 33.3%; pacing themselves or taking breaks, 30.8%; listening to their bodies, 30.8%; medications, 28.2%; taking one thing at a time, 28.2%; relaxing, 25.6%; trying alternative therapies, 25.6%; understanding FMS, 23.1%; and setting goals, 20.5%.
Conclusion: Pain, fatigue and cognitive dysfunction seriously limited the ability of fibromyalgia patients to work. Patients who were able to continue working utilized tactics including not giving up, staying busy, maintaining a positive attitude, exercise, eating well, getting enough sleep and other strategies. Those who are disabled generally felt they were incapable of successfully using those strategies.
R. S. Katz,
J. L. Polyak,
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ACR Meeting Abstracts - https://acrabstracts.org/abstract/how-fms-patients-become-workaholics/