Fibromyalgia is a widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue disorder. Muscles often feel as if they have been pulled or worked too hard and cognitive abilities can also be affected, impacting everyday life.

Many people with fibromyalgia do continue to work full or part time. However, the chronic pain and fatigue associated with fibromyalgia often make working very difficult. Some people may be forced to stop working due to their fibromyalgia, although for others, adjustments can be made in the workplace to accommodate their condition.

If you are able to continue to work, it is important to be open with your employer and also your colleagues. Education and understanding on their part will make working life with fibromyalgia easier for you. Talk to your employer so they can make adjustments to your workspace, and be open with colleagues about the fibromyalgia symptoms of pain, fatigue, and the impact this can have on your mental health and the ability to do your job.

Managing fibromyalgia in the workplace

The following lists can be useful as a guide when talking to your employer about making modifications in the workplace to accommodate fibromyalgia symptoms.

To address concentration issues, employers should consider:

  • Providing written job instructions when possible
  • Prioritising job assignments and providing more structure
  • Allowing flexible work hours and allowing a self-paced workload
  • Allowing periodic rest periods to reorient
  • Providing memory aids, such as schedulers or organisers
  • Minimising distractions
  • Reducing job stress

To address depression and anxiety, employers should consider:

  • Reducing distractions in the work environment
  • Providing to-do lists and written instructions
  • Reminding the employee of important deadlines and meetings
  • Allowing time off for counselling
  • Providing clear expectations of responsibilities and consequences
  • Providing sensitivity training to colleagues and co-workers
  • Allowing breaks to use stress management techniques
  • Developing strategies to deal with work problems before they arise
  • Allowing telephone calls during work hours to doctors and others for support
  • Providing information on counselling and employee assistance programmes

To address fatigue and weakness, employers should consider:

  • Reducing or eliminating physical exertion and workplace stress
  • Scheduling periodic rest breaks away from the workstation
  • Allowing a flexible work schedule and flexible use of leave time
  • Allowing the employee to work from home
  • Implementing ergonomic workstation design

To address migraine headaches, employers should consider:

  • Providing task lighting
  • Eliminating fluorescent lighting
  • Providing air purification devices
  • Allowing flexible work hours and work from home
  • Allowing periodic rest breaks

To address issues associated with sleep problems, employers should consider:

  • Allowing flexible work hours and frequent breaks
  • Allowing the employee to work from home

By self-managing fibromyalgia pain and controlling daily stress, many people with fibromyalgia can undertake various activities and sports, and continue to work, albeit within a modified capacity. Speak to your employer and find out what support is available to you in the workplace to make your working day as practical as possible.

If you are suffering from fibromyalgia, CRPS, or any chronic pain condition as a result of an accident that was not your fault, and even if you have an existing claim, get in touch with Brian Barr Solicitors to see if we can assist. It is simple and hassle free to move your claim to Brian Barr Solicitors who are experts in dealing with chronic pain litigation. Call us today on 0161 737 9248 or visit our website ( to find out more.