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Utilizing exercise to affect the symptomology of fibromyalgia: a pilot study
Meyer BB, Lemley KJ
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2000 Oct;32(10):1691-1697
clinical trial
2/10 [Eligibility criteria: Yes; Random allocation: Yes; Concealed allocation: No; Baseline comparability: No; Blind subjects: No; Blind therapists: No; Blind assessors: No; Adequate follow-up: No; Intention-to-treat analysis: No; Between-group comparisons: Yes; Point estimates and variability: No. Note: Eligibility criteria item does not contribute to total score] *This score has been confirmed*

Fibromyalgia (FM), a rheumatological disorder of unknown origin, is characterized by both physical and psychological symptoms. Although inconclusive results have been reported for most treatment modalities, exercise appears to have universal support for decreasing the myriad of symptoms associated with FM. Weaknesses in the literature, however, prevent conclusive statements regarding exercise prescription and concomitant impact on FM symptomology. PURPOSE: The current pilot study attempted to examine the effect of a 24-wk walking program at predetermined intensities on FM. METHODS: Initial design was a randomized control trial with high- and low-intensity exercise groups, and a control group. Subsequent nonrandomized control trials were based on actual exercise behavior. RESULTS: No differences between initial groups were identified. By collapsing groups, heart rate (HR) decreased (p < 0.05) weeks 0 to 12. Functional impairments were reduced 54% weeks 0 to 24, with exercise having a large impact (omega2 = 0.30) on this decrease. By reassigning groups, impact of FM on current health status decreased in the low-intensity group (p < 0.05) and increased in the high-intensity group (p < 0.02) weeks 0 to 24. Omega squared indicated strong influence of exercise on pain (omega2 = 0.51), with greater pain in the high-intensity group. CONCLUSIONS: A larger number of subjects and direct supervision of the training program to increase compliance is necessary to clarify the effects of a walking program on the manifestations of FM. Results indicate that intensity of the walking program is an important consideration. Individuals with FM can adhere to low-intensity walking programs two to three times per week, possibly reducing FM impact on daily activities.

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