Prescribed exercise in people with fibromyalgia: parallel group randomised controlled trialBMJ 2002; 325 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7357.185 (Published 27 July 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:185
- Selwyn C M Richards, consultant rheumatologist ()a,
- David L Scott, professor of clinical rheumatologyb
- Correspondence to: S C M Richards
- Accepted 25 February 2002
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%) v 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 v 44/67, P=0.01). Peoplein the exercise group also had greater reductions in tender point counts (4.2 v 2.0, P=0.02) and in scores on the fibromyalgia impact questionnaire (4.0 v 0.6, P=0.07).
Conclusions: Prescribed graded aerobic exercise is a simple, cheap, effective, and potentially widely available treatment for fibromyalgia.
Funding This study was funded by a research training fellowship of the London region of the NHS executive
Competing interests None declared