Background: Fibromyalgia (FM) is characterized by persistent widespread pain, increased
pain sensitivity and tenderness. People with FM also report activity limitations and impaired
Objective: This article aims to compile the findings of recently published research on work ability
in people with fibromyalgia, and to present how work ability is influenced by various aspects.
Methods: A systematic search of the literature published from the year 2000 and onwards was conducted.
Thirtyfour articles were included in the review.
Result: Symptom severity was found to influence work ability in people with FM. Physically demanding
jobs and work tasks were especially troublesome and were reported to constitute higher
risks pof work disability. Working people with FM seemed to hold a careful balancing act to manage
the risk of overload where well-functioning strategies such as making a career change, working
part-time, and developing personal skills were necessary for managing work, in the short- and long
term. The support of management and colleagues enabled people with FM to manage the risk of overload
at work. Treatment studies evaluating work disability as outcome in FM are scarce. None of
the included studies presented any effects on measures of sick-leave or work disability compared
with a control group.
Conclusion: More studies of treatment effects on outcomes related to work ability in people with
FM, and more longitudinal studies to explore long-term effects of symptoms on work ability and
sick leave, are needed in order to be able to plan evidence based rehabilitation to improve or maintain
work ability in people with FM.