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Prescribed exercise in people with fibromyalgia: parallel group randomised controlled trial [with consumer summary]
Richards SCM, Scott DL
BMJ 2002 Jul 27;325(7357):185-187
clinical trial
5/10 [Eligibility criteria: Yes; Random allocation: Yes; Concealed allocation: No; Baseline comparability: No; Blind subjects: No; Blind therapists: No; Blind assessors: Yes; Adequate follow-up: No; Intention-to-treat analysis: Yes; Between-group comparisons: Yes; Point estimates and variability: Yes. Note: Eligibility criteria item does not contribute to total score] *This score has been confirmed*

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate cardiovascular fitness exercise in people with fibromyalgia. DESIGN: Randomised controlled trial. SETTING: Hospital rheumatology outpatients. Group based classes took place at a "healthy living centre". PARTICIPANTS: 132 patients with fibromyalgia. INTERVENTIONS: Prescribed graded aerobic exercise (active treatment) and relaxation and flexibility (control treatment). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Participants' self assessment of improvement, tender point count, impact of condition measured by fibromyalgia impact questionnaire, and short form McGill pain questionnaire. RESULTS: Compared with relaxation exercise led to significantly more participants rating themselves as much or very much better at three months: 24/69 (35%) versus 12/67 (18%), p = 0.03. Benefits were maintained or improved at one year follow up when fewer participants in the exercise group fulfilled the criteria for fibromyalgia (31/69 versus 44/67, p = 0.01). People in the exercise group also had greater reductions in tender point counts (4.2 versus 2.0, p = 0.02) and in scores on the fibromyalgia impact questionnaire (4.0 versus 0.6, p = 0.07). CONCLUSIONS: Prescribed graded aerobic exercise is a simple, cheap, effective, and potentially widely available treatment for fibromyalgia.
Reproduced with permission from the BMJ Publishing Group.

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