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Pain is Symptom that Most Significantly Impacts Fibromyalgia Patients

"Functioning with Fibro" survey shows extent to which fibromyalgia pain affects personal relationships and ability to fulfill responsibilities at both work and home

NEW YORK, NY (November 12, 2013) A new survey, titled Functioning with Fibro, specifically sought to determine which fibromyalgia symptom was most impactful in the daily lives of fibromyalgia patients, and revealed that pain was the symptom with the most significant impact on social and intimate relationships, work and school attendance, and exercise habits. The survey was conducted in collaboration with the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association (NFMCPA) and was funded by Pfizer Inc. The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) also collaborated on the survey, which found that almost 40 percent of fibromyalgia patients have seen a nurse practitioner (NP), and more than one-third of them see an NP specifically for their fibromyalgia management. Despite this finding, less than a third of all surveyed are discussing fibromyalgia management expectations, including setting and tracking goals, with their healthcare provider (HCP).

"Fibromyalgia has long been misunderstood, as it is a complicated disease with many different symptoms, and as a patient, I have understood the importance of differentiating between the symptoms and recognizing the impact that just one symptom – like pain – can have on your life," said Jan Chambers, president of the NFMCPA. "This survey is important for the fibromyalgia community as it underscores the need for more effective dialogue between patients and their HCPs, specifically focusing on pain management, including lifestyle changes that can make a difference."

Functioning with Fibro surveyed 1,228 adults in the U.S. who have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a condition that affects more than 5 million Americans and is characterized by chronic widespread pain and tenderness lasting for three or more months. The survey revealed:

  • Almost 70 percent of respondents confirmed the fibromyalgia pain has affected their physical intimacy with a partner or spouse and 55 percent of respondents believe fibromyalgia pain has negatively impacted their romantic relationships in some way.
  • Fibromyalgia pain has caused 85 percent of respondents to miss events in their life and more than half have seen a negative impact on friendships and family bonds (54 and 48 percent, respectively) due to their pain.
  • On average, respondents reported experiencing more "flare-up" days – days when fibromyalgia symptoms are increased – than good ones in a typical week. In fact, 72 percent admitted they are hesitant to plan social activities out of fear they will have to cancel due to pain associated with their condition.
  • Almost half of respondents are currently discussing with their HCP ways to improve day-to-day life with fibromyalgia, and nearly all have done something to improve their ability to live with fibromyalgia pain, including minimizing stressful situations, setting more limits and incorporating physical activity regularly.
  • Less than a third of respondents are discussing management expectations, such as how to set and track goals, with their HCP. Of those who set personal improvement goals, more than one third reported that their HCP has helped them establish and set these goals.
  • Of those who reported ever seeing a NP (38 percent), nearly half reported frequent visits with their provider (at least once every three months or more).

"As NPs, our goal is to be our patients' partners in healthcare, which includes encouraging candid and productive conversations about concerns, including how to manage pain associated with a chronic condition like fibromyalgia," said Angela Golden DNP, FNP-C, FAANP, and president of AANP. "The Functioning with Fibro survey reveals an opportunity for NPs to play a more critical role in discussions with fibromyalgia patients by providing them with the necessary education and resources to effectively manage their fibromyalgia pain in everyday life."

For available resources and comprehensive survey results visit, an online resource are provided by Pfizer Inc.

About Fibromyalgia Fibromyalgia – a condition characterized by chronic widespread pain and tenderness lasting for three or more months – affects more than 5 million Americans, mostly women. Many experts believe the condition is the result of overactive nerves. Although the exact cause of fibromyalgia is not known, some research shows that fibromyalgia may be caused by abnormalities in how the body processes and responds to pain, particularly a heightened sensitivity to stimuli that are not normally painful.

About the Functioning with Fibro Survey The Functioning with Fibro survey was conducted August 9 – 23, 2013, among 1,228 adults in the U.S. ages 18 and older who have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, using an email invitation and an online survey. The survey was developed and funded by Pfizer Inc., and conducted in collaboration with the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association (NFMCPA) and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).

About Pfizer Inc. At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacture of health care products. Our global portfolio includes medicines and vaccines as well as many of the world's best-known consumer health care products. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as one of the world's premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, we collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 150 years, Pfizer has worked to make a difference for all who rely on us. To learn more, please visit us at

About National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association (NFMCPA) NFMCPA, a not-for-profit organization, supports individuals living with fibromyalgia and other chronic pain illnesses by raising awareness through community outreach, education, advocacy and networking. For more information visit, or




The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) is the largest professional membership organization for nurse practitioners (NPs) of all specialties. It represents the interests of over 171,000 NPs, including more than 47,500 individual members and 200 organizations, providing a unified networking platform and advocating for their role as providers of high-quality, cost-effective, comprehensive, patient-centered and personalized health care.

For more information visit To locate an NP in your community, go to

There is widespread familiarity with NPs. 80% of respondents have either seen an NP or know someone who has. 53% said a family member had seen one. Personal experience with NPs holds true across demographics; over 60% report familiarity across gender, region and education.