The Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ)
The Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire was first developed in 1991 by and for researchers who needed an assessment tool that would provide a comprehensive evaluation of the impact fibromyalgia has on a patient’s life. It measures physical functioning, work status, depression, anxiety, sleep, pain, stiffness, fatigue, and well being. Today the FIQ is still one of the tools most frequently used by FM researchers to evaluate the results of clinical trials.
The FIQ can also be a good tool for treating physicians to use to measure the effectiveness of a new medication or plot changes resulting from a new therapy prescribed for a particular patient.
In addition to its use by medical professionals, the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire can also be a valuable tracking tool for patients. Following are some personal uses for the FIQ:
Take the FIQ once a year. When dealing with a chronic illness, overall improvements or declines may not be noticed because they often happen gradually. An annual score will help you see the "big picture."
If you’re going to try a new medication or a different type of therapy, take the FIQ before starting, then repeat it at regular intervals (i.e., monthly) to help you measure the effectiveness of the treatment.
Share a copy of your FIQ with your doctor. It’s often difficult to convey the enormous toll fibromyalgia has taken on your life. But seeing your answers to the FIQ questions as well as your total score, should give your doctor a much clearer picture of just how significantly fibromyalgia has impacted your life. This information could also be extremely useful should it become necessary to determine your degree of disability.
The scoring of the original FIQ, which is used as a research tool, is somewhat complicated. Therefore, in 2004 when the National Fibromyalgia Association wanted to publish a copy of the FIQ that would be easier for patients to use, they worked with Dr. Carol Burckhardt, one of the researchers who originally developed the FIQ, and came up with a simplified scoring method. Although the simplified method doesn’t have the exacting precision required for research, it still provides a pretty accurate measurement of how much fibromyalgia has impacted your life.
You can download a copy of the FIQ with the easier scoring method here: Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire
. 18:728-733, 1991.
Burckhardt, C.S. "The Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire." Fibromyalgia AWARE. March-June 2004:12.
Karen is the co-founder of the National Fibromyalgia Association. She wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Pain Management.