By Lilian Anekwe
Encouraging patients with fibromyalgia to increase physical activity can reduce their disability and pain, research shows.
US researchers randomised 84 patients with fibromyalgia to either a programme of at least 30 minutes of ‘moderate-intensity physical activity’ such as taking the stairs instead of using a lift, gardening and walking – five to seven times a week for twelve weeks, or to a group given information and support only.
The active group increased their average daily steps by 54% compared to the control group, and reported significantly less perceived functional deficits and less pain. But there were no differences between the groups on the six-minute walk test, fatigue or depression.
Study leader Dr Kevin Fontaine, assistant professor in rheumatology at the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center in Baltimore, said: ‘The nature of fibromyalgia’s symptoms, the body pain and fatigue, make it hard for people to participate in traditional exercise. We’ve shown that at least a little more physically activity seems to help improve their symptoms.’
Arthritis Research and Therapy 2010 12:55