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Does aerobic exercise affect the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal hormonal response in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome?
Genc A, Tur BS, Aytur YK, Oztuna D, Erdogan MF
Journal of Physical Therapy Science 2015 Jul;27(7):2225-2231
clinical trial
5/10 [Eligibility criteria: Yes; Random allocation: Yes; Concealed allocation: No; Baseline comparability: Yes; Blind subjects: No; Blind therapists: No; Blind assessors: No; Adequate follow-up: Yes; Intention-to-treat analysis: No; Between-group comparisons: Yes; Point estimates and variability: Yes. Note: Eligibility criteria item does not contribute to total score] *This score has been confirmed*

PURPOSE: The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in the etiopathogenesis of fibromyalgia is not clear. This study aimed to analyze the effects of a 6-week aerobic exercise program on the HPA axis in patients with fibromyalgia and to investigate the effects of this program on the disease symptoms, patients' fitness, disability, and quality of life. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Fifty fibromyalgia patients were randomized to group 1 (stretching and flexibility exercises at home for 6 weeks) and group 2 (aerobic exercise three times a week and the same at-home exercises as group 1 for 6 weeks). Serum levels of cortisol, adrenocorticotropic hormone, insulin-like growth factor-1, and growth hormone were analyzed at baseline and at the end of, and 1 hr after an exercise stress test. RESULTS: Group 2 showed better improvement in morning stiffness duration and pain. Growth hormone levels significantly increased after intervention and cortisol levels significantly decreased at time-time interaction in both groups. No significant differences in adrenocorticotropic hormone and insulin-like growth factor-1 were found. CONCLUSION: The results of this study seem to support the hypothesis that there is a dysregulation of the HPA axis in patients with FM, and that a six-week exercise program can influence symptoms and affect the HPA axis hormones.

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