Background Non-adherence to exercise is not uncommon in spondyloartritis (SpA). The extent to which patients with SPA are adhering to exercise as remains unclear. Understanding patient perceptions about the benefits and barriers to exercise could aid in focusing nonpharmacological strategies to improve outcomes.
Objectives To explore barriers and facilitators of patients with SpA to exercise.
Methods Two discussion groups were organized, both recorded and analyzed using specific software for qualitative analysis of speech. The analysis was developed to identify the factors that influence exercise adherence as well as to describe relationships between them. The results were synthesized as follows 1) Segmentation according to thematic criteria, 2) Categorization according to situations, relationships, opinions, feelings or others, 3) Codification of the different categories and 4) Interpretation of results.
Results We found 4 different stages of coping with the exercise or physical activity in SpA: 1) the onset of the disease, in which patients feel scared but receptive; 2) the stabilization phase: important increase of self-confidence and interest in patients' associations and exercise specialists; 3) expert-patient phase: the patient is typically relaxed; 4) disease flares. The following table shows main facilitators and barriers identified.
In addition, a series of neutral or discordant factors including stress, time, and exercise at home or paying for exercising were also identified.
Conclusions Apart from recognizing that some personal factors should be modified, patients generally demand more knowledge and learning about physical exercise and about the pros and cons of it in the context of their disease. Consistency of messages received and better monitors accompanying them in their disease-and-exercise-coping process are important facilitators to exercise adherence. Patients' associations can disseminate much more information, in addition to support and provide advice to patients based on their prior experience.
Acknowledgements Funded by an unrestricted grant from Merck Sharp & Dohme (Spain).
Disclosure of Interest None declared