Background Studies show that women with fibromyalgia (FM) are less physically active, have lowered physical capacity and experience limitations in daily activities compared to healthy women. Many patients with FM experience exercise-related pain. This often results in reduced confidence in the ability to be physically active. Currently, we have little knowledge of the effects of specific physiotherapy treatments on fibromyalgia symptoms. It is important to identify safe and effective treatments for these patients. For optimal individualized treatment different training options are needed. Low intensity exercise has shown to be a safe mode of exercise not increasing pain. However, only a few studies have investigated the effect of resistance exercise training in patients with FM.
Objectives The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of progressive resistance exercise training compared to relaxation exercise training on physical capacity, pain, experience of physical activity and exercise self-efficacy.
Methods A randomized controlled multicenter trial comparing the effects of resistance exercise training and relaxation exercise training. Both interventions are conducted twice a week for 15 weeks. Participants are examined at baseline and after 15 weeks intervention with a battery of questionnaires and functional tests of physical capacity. A total of 120 women will be recruited to the study. Outcomes are analysed according to intent-to-treat design, implying that all patients are invited to post-test and examined accordingly. Data collection is not yet completed at all centres.
Results A total of 88 women have so far been recruited, and 69 of them have completed the intervention, resistance exercise training (n=37) or relaxation exercise training (n=32). The mean age of the study population was 51 years (SD 9.5). The mean duration of symptoms was 7.5 years (SD 5.8). The mean number of tender points was 16 (SD 1.7) and the mean pain at baseline (FIQ pain) was 64.2 (SD 19.7). There were no significant differences in baseline characteristics between the two groups. Significant improvement was found in the resistance exercise training group compared to the relaxation exercise training group regarding physical capacity as measured by Six-Minute Walk Test (p=0.032) and isometric quadriceps force (Steve Strong)(p<0.05). Significant differences in favour of the resistance exercise training group were also found regarding experience of physical activity measured by Experience of Physical Activity-questionnaire subscale Activity Habits (p<0.001) and Exercise Self Efficacy Scale (p=0.025). No significant between-group differences were found regarding global pain measured by Visual Analogue Scale.
Conclusions The resistance exercise training significantly improved physical capacity, activity habits and exercise self efficacy. The participants were able to exercise at high loads without increased pain. This shows that individually adjusted, progressively increased resistance exercise training is a feasible mode of exercise for women with FM.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared