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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Fibromyalgia: Common Assistive Technologies

This guide will provide resources on fibromyalgia.

What are assistive technologies?

The Technology Related Assistance to Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988 described an assistive technology device as "any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities."

Assistive technologies can be "high tech" and "low tech:" from canes and lever doorknobs to voice recognition software and augmentative communication devices (speech generating devices).

Technologies to Ease Pain

There are many types of assistive technologies that can help ease the pain of those who suffer from fibromyalgia and be used in either the workplace or the classroom. Since pain from fibromyalgia varies in location and intensity for each individual, it is important to consider which technologies would be most effective on an individual basis. Some common technologies to consider include the following: 

  • Adjustable workstations
  • Alternative keyboards
  • Anti-vibration seats and gloves 
  • Chairs with head support
  • Forearm supports 
  • Headsets 
  • Speech recognition software 
  • Writing aids 

Technologies for Decreased Stamina/Fatigue

In addition to technologies intended to help ease pain, there are also products to assist with the decreased stamina and fatigue these individuals may also experience. Some of these assistive technologies include the following: 

  • Anti-fatigue matting 
  • Modified workspace
  • Scooters
  • Stand-lean stools
  • Walkers 
  • Wheelchairs

Technologies for Managing Stress and Anxiety

Individuals suffering from fibromyalgia often suffer from anxiety and high levels of stress, which can heavily impact their performance at work or in the classroom. Some helpful technologies for managing these higher levels of stress and anxiety include the following: 

  • Apps (such as Breathe2Relax, Headspace, and Stop, Breathe, Think)
  • Fitness trackers
  • Simulated skylights and windows 
  • Sound/noise machines
  • Sun boxes and lights

Employees with Fibromyalgia

Finding Assistive Technology