Exercise for fibromyalgia pain: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Current Rheumatology Reviews, 01/04/2010

Ramel J et al. – Physical exercise may have positive effects on pain reduction in patients with FM. Long-term, rigorous and well-controlled randomized trials are warranted.

Methods

  • Comprehensive search of 8 western databases and reference lists through March 2009
  • Included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with pain as an endpoint, measured by the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) or a visual analogue scale (VAS)
  • Exercise treatments were compared with no-exercise control group
  • Study quality assessed by Jadad scale
  • Calculated effect sizes to assess the magnitude of treatment effect, and meta-analyzed for overall effect

Results

  • 45 studies critically appraised for effects on pain
  • 10 RCTs published between 1992 and 2008, conducted in Europe and North America met eligibility criteria with 767 participants (98% women)
  • Mean age was 47 years and mean symptom duration was 10 years
  • Meta-analysis results showed that 6 to 24 weeks of aerobic, strength training, pool and multi-component exercise had a statistically significant decrease in pain outcomes versus education, usual care and non-exercise controls
  • Pooled effect size was 0.45 (95% Confidence Interval, 0.09 to 0.80)

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