Driving with Fibromyalgia

Hi everyone, I'm new to the group and am looking for advice. How many of you drive with Fibromyalgia and how many of you have had to give up driving? I have been doing driving lessons for a few weeks, however I am really struggling now with my Fibromyalgia symptoms and am becoming reliant on my medication which has it's own side effects. I'm thinking it would be safer to give up with my driving lessons for the time being although I feel deep down that I don't want to. I feel Fibromyalgia is stealing my life and my dreams. What do I do? Any feedback would be of great support. Thanks in advance.

20 Replies

  • Fibromyalgia has taken your life over, it takes a lot of getting used to it but listen to your body. Driving with Fibro is a challenge, I sold my car when I was first diagnosed 2 years ago but have started driving again. I only drive on a fairly good day, you get to know whether you are up to driving or not. It's a personal decision only you know how your body and mind is and if you are fit to drive.

    Sorry it's not more helpful but with this illness we are all different xx

  • Hi, since I was diagnosed only about 12 months ago I have had to give up driving. However, I do drive short distances like to the shops.

    Im finding I get tired quickly and my concentration is very limited.

    Good luck. I know the symptoms are different for everyone.

  • I used to drive everywhere and loved the independence of it and my job enabled me to drive and visit most places in the UK but as things got worse I came to the stage i couldn't drive a manual car because of feet on & off clutch & my left hand was so painful it stoped me driving for a while.

    Then I got an automatic and it was great. No more clutch, climbing stop start hills & no more gears to manoeuvre.

    Things have got worse for me because I have arthritis as well & a lot of nerve damage and some days I can't even get in or out of the car because I struggle to get out of bed,

    But the car is there & i would be lost without it, even housebound probably because we live to far from shops & we are on top of a big steep hill so basically I would be up the creek without a paddle lol

    I do take a lot of medication which did effect me when I first took it but not so much like that now, I think you get used to it but I'm always very careful and wouldn't take strong painkillers or muscle relaxant just before I got in the car.

    Short journeys are fine if you are not to much in pain. It just makes things so much easier if you have a car. You just have to be sensible with meds. that tell you to not drive.

    never give up dreams

    Peace,luv n light

    Jan xx

  • Well said, I agree. I have an automatic too, much easier. 😊

  • I used to absolutely love driving, but now I don't feel at all safe because I feel so tired and worry about concentration. so now I only drive short distances and only when really necessary. Luckily I already had an automatic car, which I think makes driving much easier.

  • Hi there

    Sorry to hear that you're a sufferer.

    I have been driving you many years and would say that it's quite important to me.

    I don't drive if I'm having a bad phase, as I feel that I'm not in control of my reactions etc enough and feel it would be irresponsible of me. When I'm just coping with the every day pain, it does allow me freedom to go for a drive, see dr etc.

    Like you I would not feel safe driving if the tabs were giving me side effects that made me feel I wasn't in control, or if you're in a bad phase. I would just hold off for a wee while and try to see your dr and maybe change your meds. Or see if using them over a longer period of time that the effects go as your body gets used to them. Don't give up on your health or driving though.

    Good luck and best wishes.

  • Hi there

    Welcome to the forum :)

    I've had Fibro plus other chronic conditons for over 30 years. I am on a lot of meds but am very lucky in that none of them make me feel groggy and so I feel quite happy to drive.

    My personal advice to you would be to go and see your GP and ask for your meds to be changed, or at least to try a lower dose and see how you get on?

    Is it possible that you could not take your meds on the day you have driving lessons, or you could take them afterwards?

    I wouldn't give up on your driving lessons just yet, but I would take steps to make sure you're not groggy on the days of your lessons.

    As you're new to the group, you may like to take a look at our mother site, for lots of interesting information fmauk.org

    Please let us know what you decide to do.

    Wishing you less pain and more peace

    Lu x


  • Hello and welcome!! I do drive but live in the US and I have to sign when renewing my license (every 10 years) that I am capable of driving ... illnesses, medications etc. I do feel I am capable and I think only you can decide about yourself. Just my opinion.Good luck.Peck🐤

  • I still drive but if I have a flare and increase my meds like Pregablin I don't drive th next day, probably would be safe but I am extra safety conscious as we live in a very built up area with a tremendous amount of traffic.

    You might find that when you pass your test an automatic car would be a good bet as no one I know has ever regrettedmakinf the change.

    Learning to drive the way roads are now is difficult as the test is much more intense than when I passed but it would give you so much independence that as long as you feel able I would definitely persevere. It would make going to and from medical appts so much easier for you and not having to wait for buses, etc could only I prove your health. I personally found I caught far less infections once I wasn't travelling on crowded buses and waiting in the wet and cold or one to deem to turn up.

    Goodluck with whatever you decide.x🚗🚘🚙x

  • I drive an automatic and I've been OK with that. I'm very aware of when I'm too tired to drive, so I don't drive then and I only do short distances nowadays anyway. I'm not on a lot of meds so the side effects of those aren't a problem with driving. If I do take naproxen some days when the pain is particularly bad then I don't drive that day. I'd hate to have to give up the car completely.

    My advice to you would be try an automatic! (and make sure you're aware of how any meds you take might affect your ability to drive)

  • Hi sj8316

    I sincerely hope that you are feeling as well as you possibly can be today? Welcome to the forum and it is wonderful to make your acquaintance.

    I had to stop driving many years ago due to another health condition and to be honest I have never missed it. I do have a disabled scooter which I use on occasion but not too often.

    I am so genuinely sorry to read that you are suffering and struggling with your Fibro and I want to sincerely wish you all the best of luck, and please take care of yourself.

    All my hopes and dreams for you


  • Thank you everyone for all your lovely messages. I really do appreciate it. Your suppport means a lot to me. It's very helpful getting some perspective from those who truly do understand what I'm going through. You have all given me some encouragement and a lot to think about. Thank you again.

  • Hello,

    I too would not give up on the driving lessons. Being able to drive provides you with freedom to chose when you come and go.

    I changed from a manual to an automatic car. I find that power steering and an electronic handbrake help. Heated seats are a blessing and the ultimate for me is a heated steering wheel - makes a whole lot of difference when my hands get painful.

    I only drive when I feel safe to do so. I am only too well aware of the adverse effects of brain fog & fatigue.

    If you apply for PIP and end up getting an award for top rate mobility, it means you have an option for a Motability car. I say this because there are a range of accessories that can be fitted which can make car use easier for you.

    Good luck with your lessons.

    Best wishes,


  • Hi i can only drive short trips now as it makes every part of my body hurt,it is so annoying as it gives me independance but now i find i can't actually drive safely on long distances and once had to pull over and cry as the pain was so bad.So i have had to admit defeat and only drive short distances.

  • I still drive but I rely heavily on my satnav for journeys that I used to do without a satnav. I also rely on my husband as a passenger to help me with directions (even with the satnav!). I have to do a lot of the driving since he broke his shoulder before Christmas.

    I would hate to lose my independence as I've already lost so much with this illness.

    Good luck with your lessons, I hope you do well. Just do as much as you can when you can, be honest with yourself, only you know how fibro is affecting your ability to drive. xxx

  • Hello, I have just posted a comment on this under 'treatment and medication'. Personally I am not comfortable taking meds and driving. So I only take the meds which wont interfere with concentration. This cuts down the available pain management but it is worth the freedom of 'the open road'.

  • Hi, I have driven for many years and have fibro. I rely on my car to get to work and on occasions when I have a flare I can't drive because of the pain so that will result in me not going to work. In fact I am having a flare now and my back and legs hurt so much I won't be going in tomorrow.

    I also suffer from low level anxiety which I experience sometimes while driving. this happens when I feel fatigued and then start to feel frightened of falling to sleep, so it is something to be wary of as its not safe to drive like this. However driving gives a lot of independence so I would encourage you to continue with it. It will help keep your confidence up. I drive an automatic and would never go back to a manual so I would advise you to try and auto.

    Although I have to say that after driving a manual for 25 years I still don't know what some of the numbers on the auto stick mean. I just know p for park, d for drive and r for reverse.

    Take care

  • Thank you for your reply and taking the time to share your experience about driving with me. I am continuing with my driving lessons in a manual car as I am half way through my lessons but am planning on driving an automatic when I pass my test. My husband drives and I think he will continue to do most of the driving especially the long journeys as I do find driving painfully difficult at times and I get fatigued very easily. It would just be nice to know I can drive if I ever need to. It would just make me feel a bit independant and it does build my confidence.

  • Hi sj8316

    I'm so pleased you brought this subject up, I'm still getting used to the effects Fibromyalgia has on my life and driving is one of them, when I'm feeling tired or have a flare up I won't drive however on the good days it helps to keep my independence. We are looking to change our car next year and I have told my husband I would like an automatic - he didn't really understand why (he prefers manual) but after reading all these comments I think he will get the picture. I have also go to point out that my husband is extremely understanding and helpful but I can't expect him to really know what it is like so I am so pleased that I joined this group.

  • I can relate to that one day driving to doctors I thought I was going to spontainiously combust my feet got so hot I almost had to pull over. Sorry spelling not so good but I'm sure you get the message.

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