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Sustained exercise improved Fibromyalgia patients’ well-being without worsening pain

Saturday 8 June 2013


From Healio Rheumatology:


HealioSustained exercise improved fibromyalgia patients’ well-being without worsening pain

Kaleth AS. Arthritis Care Res. 2013;doi:10.1002/acr.21980.
June 6, 2013

Patients with fibromyalgia who participated in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for at least 12 weeks improved their physical function and overall well-being, according to study results.

“For many people with fibromyalgia, they will exercise for a week or two and then start hurting and think that exercise is aggravating their pain, so they stop exercising,” researcher Dennis C. Ang, MD, associate professor of internal medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, N.C., said in a press release. “We hope that our findings will help reduce patients’ fear and reassure them that sustained exercise will improve their overall health and reduce their symptoms without worsening their pain.”

Researchers studied 170 patients with fibromyalgia (mean age, 45.9 years; 94.7% women; mean disease duration, 9.2 years), who received individualized exercise prescriptions and completed baseline and follow-up physical activity assessments at 12, 24 and 36 weeks. Change in Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ)-Physical Impairment (FIQ-PI) score was the primary outcome, while overall well-being (FIQ-Total), pain severity ratings and depression improvements were secondary outcomes.

Twenty-seven patients (15.9%) increased and sustained physical activity (SUS-PA), 68 (40%) increased but then declined activity (UNSUS-PA) and 75 (44.1%) did not achieve benchmark (LO-PA) when using a threshold increase in moderate-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) of at least 10 metabolic equivalent hours per week above usual activities. SUS-PA and UNSUS-PA patients reported greater improvement in FIQ-PI (P<.01) and FIQ-Total (P<.05) compared with LO-PA patients. There was greater improvement reported in pain severity by SUS-PA patients compared with LO-PA patients (P<.05). Primary or secondary measures did not indicate any significant group differences between SUS-PA and UNSUS-PA cohorts.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the longitudinal relationship between long-term maintenance of moderate-vigorous physical activity and improvement and preservation of fibromyalgia-related clinical benefits,” the researchers concluded. “Although sustained physical activity was not associated with greater clinical benefit compared to unsustained physical activity, these findings also suggest that performing greater volumes of physical activity is not associated with worsening pain in [fibromyalgia]. Future research is needed.”


The above originally appeared here.


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