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Effects of Exercise Training and Detraining in Patients with Fibromyalgia Syndrome: A 3-Yr Longitudinal Study

Sañudo, Borja PhD; Carrasco, Luis PhD; de Hoyo, Moisés PhD; McVeigh, Joseph G. PhD

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: July 2012 - Volume 91 - Issue 7 - p 561–573
doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e31824faa03
CME Article • 2012 Series • Number 5

Objective This study aimed to evaluate the immediate effects of a 6-mo combined exercise program on quality-of-life, physical function, depression, and aerobic capacity in women with fibromyalgia syndrome and to determine the impact of repeated delivery of the intervention.

Design Forty-one women with fibromyalgia were randomly assigned to a training group (EG; n = 21) and a control group (CG; n = 20). Quality-of-life and physical function were assessed using the 36-item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) and the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, and depression was measured using the Beck Depression Inventory. Physical fitness was measured using the 6-min Walk Test. Outcomes were assessed at baseline and after each 6-mo intervention, which was delivered over 30 mos (6 mos of training and 6 mos of detraining).

Results After a 6-mo combined exercise program, there was a significant improvement in the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (P < 0.0005) for the training group over the control group. Repeated-measures analysis of variance across all time points demonstrated significant main effects for time for the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, SF-36, Beck Depression Inventory and the 6-min Walk Test, but there were no between-group interaction effects. For the EG, there were significant within-group changes in the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, SF-36, and Beck Depression Inventory at the final time point; however, there were no within-group changes for the control group. Improvement achieved for the training group were maintained during the detraining period.

Conclusions A long-term exercise program can produce immediate improvements in key health domains in women with fibromyalgia. The benefits achieved with regular training can be maintained for 30 mos. The lack of difference between groups over time may be caused by attrition and consequent lack of power at the final time point.

From the Physical Education and Sports Department, University of Seville, Spain (BS, LC, MdH); and Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Research Institute, School of Health Sciences, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland (JGM).

All correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to: Borja Sañudo, PhD, Physical Education and Sports Department, University of Seville, C/ Pirotécnia s/n, N-41012, Seville, Spain.

CME Objectives: Upon completion of this article, the reader should be able to (1) discuss the symptomatic impact of fibromyalgia syndrome, (2) understand the role of exercise in the short-term management of fibromyalgia, and (3) understand the potential role of regular exercise in the long-term management of fibromyalgia.

Disclosures: Financial disclosure statements have been obtained, and no conflicts of interest have been reported by the authors or by any individuals in control of the content of this article.

Supported by the University of Seville.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.