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Exercise in fibromyalgia reduces pain

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



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