Resistance exercise improves muscle strength, health status and pain intensity in fibromyalgia

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SCIENCE
Resistance exercise improves muscle strength, health status and pain intensity in fibromyalgia
Key Take-Away: 

Fibromyalgia affects approximately 1–3 % of the general population and significantly impairs their quality of life. Non medical interventions are also one of the approaches for its treatment. This particular study has tried resistance exercises as a treatment approach and the investigators have been successful in improving the outcomes.

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a persistent pain associated with tenderness and increased pain sensitivity impacting the muscle strength adversely. The aim of the study is to examine the effects of a progressive resistance exercise program on muscle strength, health status, and current pain intensity in women with FM.

ABSTRACT: 
Background: 

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a persistent pain associated with tenderness and increased pain sensitivity impacting the muscle strength adversely.

The aim of the study is to examine the effects of a progressive resistance exercise program on muscle strength, health status, and current pain intensity in women with FM.

Methods: 

A total of 130 women with FM (age 22–64 years, symptom duration 0–35 years) were included in this assessor-blinded randomized controlled multi-center trial examining the effects of progressive resistance group exercise compared with an active control group.

A person- centred model of exercise was used to support the participants’ self-confidence for management of exercise because of known risks of activity-induced pain in FM. The intervention was performed twice a week for 15 weeks and was supervised by experienced physiotherapists. Primary outcome measure was isometric knee extension force (Steve Strong®), secondary outcome measures were health status (FIQ total score), current pain intensity (VAS), 6MWT, isometric elbow flexion force, hand-grip force, health-related quality of life, pain disability, pain acceptance, fear avoidance beliefs, and patient global impression of change (PGIC). Outcomes were assessed at baseline and immediately after the intervention. Long-term follow-up comprised the self-reported questionnaires only and was conducted after 13–18 months. Between-group and within-group differences were calculated using non-parametric statistics.

Results: 

Significant improvements were found for isometric knee-extension force (p = 0.010), health status (p = 0.038), current pain intensity (p = 0.033), 6MWT (p = 0.003), isometric elbow flexion force (p = 0.02), pain disability (p = 0.005), and pain acceptance (p = 0.043) in the resistance exercise group (n = 56) when compared to the control group (n = 49).

PGIC differed significantly (p = 0.001) in favor of the resistance exercise group at post-treatment examinations. No significant differences between the resistance exercise group and the active control group were found regarding change in self-reported questionnaires from baseline to 13–18 months.

Conclusion: 

The person-centered progressive resistance exercise was a feasible mode of exercise for women with FM. The results showed improved muscle strength, health status, and current pain intensity.

Arthritis Res Ther. 2015 Jun 18; 17:161

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