explain Fibromyalgia condition

How do I engage the patient to help him or her understand fm?

The first pillar of the FM framework for primary care is to explain the condition to the patient.
This task involves:

  • Integrating disease education with diagnosis

  • Directing patients to credible FM
    information sources

  • Setting expectations for the patient

Setting basic expectations for how you and your patient will work together may help establish a productive, more efficient partnership and may minimize frustration. Patient self-management is an integral part of this partnership and should be emphasized when setting expectations.

Key points for explaining the condition to patients with FM

  • Education at diagnosis sets the stage for effective management

    • When diagnosis is delivered by an HCP who can explain the condition and confidently answer
      questions, patients often feel1:

      • Validated that their symptoms have a medical explanation

      • Relieved that the symptoms are not attributable to a more
        serious or life-threatening illness

      • Reassured that improvement is achievable

    • Education also begins the journey of empowerment for patients. It equips them with the knowledge and understanding that they will need to self-manage FM and can also foster a positive
      sense of ability to cope with and manage symptoms to enhance their daily function2


1. Sim J, Madden S. Illness experience in fibromyalgia syndrome: a metasynthesis of qualitative studies.
Soc Sci Med. 2008;67(1):57-67.

2. Burckhardt CS. Educating patients: self-management approaches. Disabil Rehabil. 2005;27(12):703-709.