Positive results using exercise to treat fibromyalgia

I’m piecing together the results of a study by Brazilian researchers presented at the recent meeting of the American College of Rheumatology.

During an excellent interview on Medscape, Dr. Rollin Gallagher, who is Director of Pain Medicine at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center in Pennsylvania reports, “Patients who participated in resistance training and muscular exercise, as well as walking exercises, performed better than the control group who had no exercise at all.”

Specifically, as reported by Dr. Phillip Mease from the University of Washington in Seattle…

  • 79 female patients were studied.
  • They were randomly assigned to one of 3 study groups for 16 weeks.
  • A walking program
  • Resistance muscular exercise
  • A control group

And, the results.

  • Statistically significant improvements in visual analog scale pain scores and the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) score were noted with walking or exercise.

The bottom line?
The theoretical explanation for this response is related to a positive change in people’s mood and outlook. According to Dr. Gallagher, “As soon as you start activating the other sensory systems in the body, not just the nociceptive pain system, it ends up shutting down the pain or tightening up the pain perception system, making it work more effectively.”

“Essentially you are stimulating the brain with more information, and the brain pays attention to that information, such as walking, movement, positioning — all the things that go along with activity. Being active is very important, but again, so is starting slow and progressing gradually with cognitive behavioral support.”

12/29/07 11:48 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.