Research News Flash
Fibromyalgia is a complex disease process associated with widespread pain that often results in reduced physical activity. The associated pain, along with other secondary conditions (e.g., fatigue, poor sleep and balance, impaired physical function, reduced quality of life), make it difficult to sustain participation in regular exercise.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of a combined program of exercise and patient education. Short- and long-term outcomes of interest were level of disability, spine mobility, endurance, and performance of activities of daily living (ADLs). The progressive group exercise program (supervised by a physiotherapist) included aerobic, muscle strengthening, and flexibility activities. Patient education involved fibromyalgia information and instruction on proper exercise, along with telephone calls and home exercise diaries. The exercise group met for two 60-minute sessions per week for 10 weeks. Based on random assignment, 21 participants engaged in the intervention, and 20 were assigned to a control group. Outcomes were assessed at baseline, post-intervention, and at six months.
No adverse events were reported along with a high adherence rate. Results indicated a reduction of monthly non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)/analgesic drug consumption. Positive trends were observed in most outcomes, with significant improvements in aerobic endurance and spine mobility, with the positive results maintained at the follow-up. Results suggest that with proper program design and patient education for individuals with fibromyalgia, the typical problems of low compliance and exercise adherence can be overcome, allowing for short- and long-term gains.
Giannotti, E., Koutsikos, K., Pigatto, M., Rampudda, M. E., Doria, A., & Masiero, S. (2014). Medium-/long-term effects of a specific exercise protocol combined with patient education on spine mobility, chronic fatigue, pain, aerobic fitness and level of disability in fibromyalgia. BioMed Research International, Epub 2014 Jan 29.