The 6 Different Stages of Fibromyalgia. What’s Your Stage?

When being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, one of the first thoughts to go through your head is, ‘Is this illness progressive?’

Many Doctors have done research into whether Fibromyalgia is a progressive illness like it’s sister illnesses MS and Lupus. However the jury is still out on this and many doctors will tell you that Fibro is not progressive. So if this is the case how come many of us, seem to go through six very different stages that Angela Wise wrote a post about. She believes there are stages of Fibromyalgia.

Stage 1

You have started to experience more pain and fatigue then you have had before and you’re not sure what is going on. You can hold a job and make it through the day but you know something isn’t right, you start researching and going to the doctor.

Stage 2

You are in pain a lot and taking anti-inflammatory drugs and/or other pain killers however you do not get much relief. You now start to accept the fact that this is something you are going to have for a while. You feel a lot of pain and are exhausted almost every day but you keep going and manage to hold down a job, still spend time with your friends and loved ones and have some good times here and there.

Stage 3

You’re in constant pain and you’re constantly tired. You wonder whether you will be ever able to function normal again. You are considering not working because you no longer have the energy you once had. You come home from work and all you can do is rest. You start to turn down invitations from friends and family just so you can rest to go back to work tomorrow. You start to feel more alone. More people are beginning to think you whine too much. This stage can last a long time, perhaps years.

Stage 4

You are unrelenting pain all the time, good days are now few and far between. You are calling into work more then you can make it in. You’re in bed a good portion of your day. When you do have a good day you take full advantage of it and do as much as you can, knowing you will pay for it tomorrow. By this time your friends start to make plans without you, they already know your excuses and are nearly certain you will not join in. People start to thing you are using Fibromyalgia as a reason not to do things as in stages 1-3 you were able to do a lot more then you can now. You feel alone, isolated, worried, emotional, sad. This stage can last years.

Stage 5

You have already quit your job or been let go due to ill health. You are asking loads of questions about permanent disability and how long it takes to get it. You may have a person who takes care of you and spend a lot of your day in bed although you still take full advantage of that one good day once in a while. You’re very sore, you cry a lot and feel like a prisoner in your own body. By this time you have already explained to your friends that it still feels food to be invited even if you don’t go. You find the only people that can relate are those in the same predicament however you wish your friends and family could understand.

Stage 6 (The Final Stage)

You may or may not still be waiting for your disability pension. You cannot hold down a job. Fibromyalgia is now your lifestyle, most of your friends are those living with fibromyalgia themselves. Everything you do takes all your precious energy including simple daily tasks you took for granted in earlier stages like; going to the bathroom, washing your hair, taking a shower, getting dressed, tying your shoes. You get irritated by your hair or clothes touching your skin, you have no energy or desire to put on “your face” before going out and no energy to keep a neat home. With all the medication you are on now or have tried, you are dealing with loads of  side effects and constant pain.

You are a human and still enjoy some things, like watching TV so you try to stay current on any news regarding Fibromyalgia, in hopes they are closer to finding a cure. Most of your old friends are not around anymore, as they have things to do and families. However you need to rest a lot. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in this stage, because things are piling up around you: bills, laundry, dishes. You do a little everyday, you push yourself so you don’t feel like your day was wasted in bed, you feel guilty that you no longer pull your own weight in the house. Your kids, spouse or family do things for you more than ever. They try to do it in a nice manner but you still feel like a burden. You can’t remember anything, cannot recall names or dates and you lose your train of thought mid-sentence. Also you know more about Fibromyalgia in this stage then your own doctor and basically laugh when trying a new medication. You are without hope, same drill as before, same results, nothing helps much.

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10 Responses

  1. Anna Marie Sneath says:


  2. Roberta Roper says:

    I stayed in work till stage 6 ,ok I had been of sick a few times for a few weeks. When I finally gave up work I felt sure that I would recover and find another job. I even tried doing New courses but the brain fog and the chronic fatigue made studying impossible . Reading one chapter then fall asleep .Unable to sleep at night because of pain everything hurt even the seam of my nights.

  3. linda says:

    the only people who know how you feel is the other people who have fibro. our familys don’t even understand. sorry you have it!

  4. Joy says:

    Stage 6 and it is really Wonderful to find relief, have a good day or even be able to enjoy a short trip to see family and friends. Nobody really understands unless they have our symptoms. Stay positive and keep communicating!

  5. A purnell says:

    Stage six

  6. Ann says:

    Think I’m past stage 6 it’s just useless no one helps been on everything there is the morphine drove me near crazy I struggle to do anything I just paid someone £125to clean my new house because it wasn’t clean and I can’t bear dirty. I just can’t doit anymore done more than I could and been suffering so bad for it. There has to be something one day they can do for this disease because it is that.

  7. Sarah says:

    I was at stage 6 plus, completely bed-ridden for 8 years, but then I was accepted to a pain clinic. I take a number of different meds – Gabapentin for nerve pain, hydromorphone long-acting and its short-acting counterpart Dilaudid for the heavy pain, and more recently medical marijuana to take the rest of the edge off. I also take the antidepressant Effexor, Synthroid, Vitamin D and a sleeping med. It sounds like a lot but the cocktail has saved my life. My hope is that with the marijuana I will be able to cut back on the Hydromorphone, but there is no pressure for me to do so. I am thankful for a doctor that continues to fight for me. I am still on disability, and moving too much or getting stressed out definitely still increases pain. The fatigue is very deep and I am limited by what I can accomplish, but my pain is controlled. My doctor knows that if he has to reduce my opioids or cut me off like is happening in the States that I will be looking into doctor assisted suicide. I can’t go back to level 10 pain 24/7.

    • Sarah swan says:

      I’m stage six and have been for a couple of years have to use a mobility scooter now and a tried very hard not to lose my walking but it just became impossible for me was house bound six months b4 caving in and getting a scooter, am in the process of trying to get medical Marijuana just wondering if you had any problems getting prescribed it ?

  8. lynette says:

    stage 6 for me and a family that lives with me say its in my imagination

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