Fibromyalgia: An Environmental Scan

Table of Contents

4.2.6 Burden of Illness

Overall, fibromyalgia is a challenging chronic pain syndrome that is difficult to manage and has significant impact across many areas of an individual’s life. Research comparing the overall health measures such as general health, social functioning and emotional problems found that individuals with fibromyalgia, by comparison to both the general population and those with other specific pain conditions, were significantly more impaired across 8 health status areas (Hoffman, DL. and EM. Dukes 2008). Furthermore, a study inclusive of several countries, specifically designed to assess the burden of disease associated with fibromyalgia found significant economic impact to individuals. At least half of the patients surveyed had lost work time in the past year due to their condition, while 20% reported they were unable to work and 40% of patients reported they had spent ‘substantial’ money on out-of-pocket expenses for medical services related to fibromyalgia. Beyond the physical health challenges, the economic burden associated with fibromyalgia can negatively impact access to optimal care and increase personal stress all adding to the burden of illness (Borigini 2009).