We're using cookies to give you the best experience on our site. Cookies are files stored in your browser and are used by most websites to help personalise your web experience.

By continuing to use our website without changing the settings, you're agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more
For more information, go to

Fahmida's action plan

For patients like Fahmida with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, a skilful explanation of the condition can significantly improve outcomes and help avoid a fruitless cycle of investigation, referral and re-referral.

Explaining the condition

Explanations which imply that the condition is ‘all in the mind’ are likely to cause offence. Explanations which are less likely to offend:

  1. describe how pain is modulated in the nervous system
  2. integrate psychological and biological factors
  3. suggest specific ideas for management.

Action plan

A pharmacological approach alone is unlikely to be successful, though stronger analgesics and/or low-dose antidepressants such as amitriptyline may offer some pain relief. Other elements in the management plan might include:

  • signposting information (for patients and carers)
  • exercise therapy, especially regular aerobic exercise building up gradually to 20–30mins two or three times a week and strength training
  • heated pool therapy
  • psychological therapies e.g. cognitive behavioural therapy
  • advice around pacing activities, sleep hygiene and support to stay in work.
Back to Case study – Fahmida

Referral and further action

Lady having chat with doctor

Referral to secondary care may be required for diagnosis and/or treatment and may be appropriate even where a condition can normally be managed in primary care.

Search arthritis information

We're now

Versus Arthritis.

You're being taken through to our new website in order to finish your donation.

Thank you for your generosity.

For more information, go to
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.