Physical Fitness May Help Improve Fibromyalgia Pain

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A higher level of physical fitness is associated with lower levels of pain and pain-related catastrophizing, and higher chronic pain self-efficacy in women with fibromyalgia, according to a study published in Arthritis Care & Research.

Alberto Soriano-Maldonado, of the University of Granada in Spain, and colleagues aimed to characterize the association between fitness level and pain. They assessed pain in 468 women with fibromyalgia (mean age 52.1 years, mean weight 71.2 kg, mean BMI 28.6 kg/m2) using algometry, revised fibromyalgia impact questionnaire, Visual Analog Scale (VAS), and the Short Form-36 (SF-36) health survey. Fitness was assessed with the Senior Fitness battery and handgrip dynamometry, forming a composite score and average deemed their “global fitness profile.”

The mean score on the VAS was 6.0 out of 10 (higher score = worse pain), and mean bodily pain score on SF-36 was 20.9 out of 100 (lower score = higher pain). The average Pain Catastrophizing Scale score was 25 out of 52 (higher = more negative). The mean score on the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire was 7.6 out of 10 (higher = worse pain), and the mean Chronic Pain Self-Efficacy Scale score was 135.4 out of 300 (higher = better).

Muscle strength and flexibility were found to be independently associated with pain (P<0.005), and those with high levels of muscle strength and flexibility had the lowest levels of pain in the population. Aerobic fitness and flexibility were independently associated with pain-related catastrophizing (P<0.001) and chronic pain self-efficacy (P<0.001). Patients with high degrees of flexibility and aerobic fitness had the best catastrophizing and self-efficacy profiles.

The results indicate that physical activity and fitness may have a positive effect on the negative attitudes and physical symptoms of fibromyalgia. 

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Physical Fitness May Help Improve Fibromyalgia Pain

This population-based cross-sectional study aimed to characterize the association of different components of physical fitness with pain levels, pain-related catastrophizing and chronic pain self-efficacy in women with fibromyalgia (FM).

Four hundred sixty-eight women with FM participated. The experience of pain was assessed with different tools (algometry, numerical rating scale [revised FM impact questionnaire], visual analogue scale and bodily pain subscale [SF-36 health survey]). We also assessed pain-related catastrophizing and chronic pain self-efficacy. Physical fitness was assessed with performance-based tests (Senior Fitness Test battery and handgrip dynamometry). A standardized composite score was computed for each component of physical fitness (aerobic fitness, muscle strength, flexibility and motor agility), and their average comprised a clustered ‘global fitness profile'. 

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