Effects of aerobic exercise versus stress management treatment in fibromyalgia

To determine and compare short- and long-term effects of aerobic exercise (AE), stress management treatment (SMT), and treatment-as-usual (TAU) in fibromyalgia, 60 patients were randomized to 14 weeks of treatment by either AE, SMT or TAU. Outcome measures at baseline, midway through treatment, at treatment completion, and at 4 year follow up included a patient made drawing of pain distribution, dolorimetry of tender points, ergometer cycle test, global subjective improvement, and VAS registrations of: pain, disturbed sleep, lack of energy, and depression. Both AE and SMT showed positive short-term effects. AE was the overall most effective treatment, despite being subject to the most sceptical patient attitude prior to the study. At follow up, there were no obvious group differences in symptom severity, which for AE seemed to be due to a considerable compliance problem.

Effects of aerobic exercise versus stress management treatment in fibromyalgia
S H⊘ rven Wigers, TC Stiles, PA Vogel
Scandinavian journal of rheumatology 25 (2), 77-86, 1996
To determine and compare short- and long-term effects of aerobic exercise (AE), stress management treatment (SMT), and treatment-as-usual (TAU) in fibromyalgia, 60 patients were randomized to 14 weeks of treatment by either AE, SMT or TAU. Outcome measures at baseline, midway through treatment, at treatment completion, and at 4 year follow up included a patient made drawing of pain distribution, dolorimetry of tender points, ergometer cycle test, global subjective improvement, and VAS registrations of: pain, disturbed sleep, lack of energy, and depression. Both AE and SMT showed positive short-term effects. AE was the overall most effective treatment, despite being subject to the most sceptical patient attitude prior to the study. At follow up, there were no obvious group differences in symptom severity, which for AE seemed to be due to a considerable compliance problem.
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Efficacy of different types of aerobic exercise in fibromyalgia syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials
Winfried Häuser, Petra Klose, Jost Langhorst, Babak Moradi, Mario Steinbach, Marcus Schiltenwolf, Angela Busch
Arthritis research & therapy 12 (3), R79, 2010
The efficacy and the optimal type and volume of aerobic exercise (AE) in fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) are not established. We therefore assessed the efficacy of different types and volumes of AE in FMS. The Cochrane Library, EMBASE, MEDLINE, PsychInfo and SPORTDISCUS (through April 2009) and the reference sections of original studies and systematic reviews on AE in FMS were systematically reviewed. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of AE compared with controls (treatment as usual, attention placebo, active therapy) and head-to-head comparisons of different types of AE were included. Two authors independently extracted articles using predefined data fields, including study quality indicators. Twenty-eight RCTs comparing AE with controls and seven RCTs comparing different types of AE with a total of 2,494 patients were reviewed. Effects were summarised using standardised mean differences (95% confidence intervals) by random effect models. AE reduced pain (-0.31 (-0.46, -0.17); P < 0.001), fatigue (-0.22 (-0.38, -0.05); P = 0.009), depressed mood (-0.32 (-0.53, -0.12); P = 0.002) and limitations of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) (-0.40 (-0.60, -0.20); P < 0.001), and improved physical fitness (0.65 (0.38, 0.95); P < 0.001), post treatment. Pain was significantly reduced post treatment by land-based and water-based AE, exercises with slight to moderate intensity and frequency of two or three times per week. Positive effects on depressed mood, HRQOL and physical fitness could be maintained at follow-up. Continuing exercise was associated with positive outcomes at follow-up. Risks of bias analyses did not change the robustness of the results. Few studies reported a detailed exercise protocol, thus limiting subgroup analyses of different types of exercise. An aerobic exercise programme for FMS patients should consist of land-based or water-based exercises with slight to moderate intensity two or three times per week for at least 4 weeks. The patient should be motivated to continue exercise after participating in an exercise programme.

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