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Exercise in warm water decreases pain and improves cognitive function in middle-aged women with Fibromyalgia – Source: Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology, Nov-Dec 2007

  [ 23 votes ]   [ 1 Comment ]
By D Munguia-Izquierdo and A Legaz-Arrese • • January 7, 2008

Objectives: To compare the cognitive function performance in patients with Fibromyalgia (FM) with respect healthy controls and to evaluate the short-term efficacy of exercise therapy in a warm, chest-high pool on pain and cognitive function in women with FM.

Methods: Sixty middle-aged women with FM were randomly assigned to either an exercise training group (n = 35) to perform 3 sessions per week of aquatic training (32 degrees C) including mobility, aerobic, strengthening, and relaxation exercises for 16 weeks, or a control group (n = 25).

Twenty-five healthy women matched for age, weight, body mass index, and educational and physical activity levels were recruited. Pain was assessed in patients using a syringe calibrated like a pressure dolorimeter, and a visual analog scale. The severity of FM was evaluated using the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire. Cognitive function was measured in healthy individuals and patients using several standardized neuropsychological tests. All patients were measured at baseline and post-treatment.


  • At baseline, the healthy group evidenced cognitive performance that was significantly superior to the group of patients with FM in all of the neuropsychological tests.
  • The exercise group significantly improved their pain threshold, tender point count, self-reported pain, severity of FM, and cognitive function,
  • While in the control group the differences were not significant.
  • Conclusion: An exercise therapy three times per week for 16 weeks in a warm-water pool is an adequate treatment to decrease the pain and severity of FM [as] well as to improve cognitive function in previously unfit women with FM and heightened painful symptomatology.

    Source: Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology. 2007 Nov-Dec;25(6):823-30. PMID: 18173915, by Munguía-Izquierdo D, Legaz-Arrese A. Section of Physical Education and Sports, University Pablo de Olavide, Seville, Spain.

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    Article Comments Post a Comment

    water therapy dispute
    Posted by: typingteror
    Jan 8, 2008
    I attended water therapy for 1 1/2 years three times a week. The biggest benefit for me was socializing with wonderful group of people however my body could no longer tolerate pain water therapy inflicted. The movement of water from knees down was like being beaten with a board and I could no longer endure this so had to quit. Water would have to be much hotter in heated pools before I could derive any benefit from it. An extremely hot bath gives me much benefit so I am able to fall asleep easily. I found that people with arthritis got a lot of benefit but any person with fibromyalgia derived absolutely no benefit from this program.
    Reply Reply
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