Is there a relationship between fibromyalgia syndrome and work conditions?

Britt Larsson, I Balogh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (SciVal)


Objectives: This Study examines the initial course of the fibronlyalgia syndrome [FMS] and the influence of physical and psychosocial work-place factors on developing FMS. Methods: Patients with FMS were recruited to participate in a structured interview about pain and physical and psychosocial load. In addition, they participated in a clinical examination. Physical load in occupational life was assessed by two validated indices relevant for risk evaluation of pain in the upper extremities and the neck. Results: Of the 116 female FMS patients [25-45 years] recruited, 64 agreed to participate. Seventy percent of the participants noted that their pain started out as localized pain. The neck [52 percent], the shoulders [45 percent], and the low back [28 percent] were the regions most frequently cent engaged. The localized pain worsened to widespread pain [median six years after start of pain]. For the 71 percent of the participants who were working at the onset of pain, the onset occurred after eight occupationally active years. They scored relatively high on the validated measures of physical load for the employment period, including the time for onset of pain. To a higher degree, the FMS patients had heavy and light repetitive work compared to the age-matched women from the same geographic area. The odds ratio affected by FMS when occupied in heavy or light repetitive work was 5.1 [95 percent CI: 3.4-7.7] compared to subjects occupied in administration, computer work, or medium heavy variable work-tasks. Conclusions: Job strain and strenuous events were more common in the FMS group than in the control group. The majority of FMS patients had been exposed to a substantially risky physical workload. Hence, we consider physical workload as an important fisk factor for localized pain and for FMS. Occurrence of job strain probably enhances the risk for the development of FMS. The frequently reported strenuous events might have contributed to spreading localized pain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-14
JournalJournal of Musculoskeletal Pain
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Environmental Health and Occupational Health


  • fibromyalgia
  • physical
  • psychosocial


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