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Education for patients with fibromyalgia. A systematic review of randomised clinical trials.

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Abstract

AIM

To analyze the effectiveness of education about pain, quality of life and functionality in patients with fibromyalgia.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS

The search for articles was carried out in electronic databases. Eligibility criteria were: controlled randomized clinical trials (RCT), published in English and Spanish, that had been conducted on patients with fibromyalgia, in which the therapeutic procedure was based on patient education. Two independent reviewers analyzed the methodological quality using the PEDro scale.

RESULTS

Five RCT were selected, of which four offered good methodological quality. In three of the studies, patient education, in combination with another intervention based on therapeutic exercise, improved the outcomes in the variables assessing pain and quality of life as compared with the same procedures performed separately. Moreover, an RCT with a high quality methodology showed that patient education activated inhibitory neural pathways capable of lowering the level of pain. The quantitative analysis yields strong-moderate evidence that patient education, in combination with other therapeutic exercise procedures, offers positive results in the variables pain, quality of life and functionality.

CONCLUSIONS

Patient education in itself has not proved to be effective for pain, quality of life or functionality in patients with fibromyalgia. There is strong evidence, however, of the effectiveness of combining patient education with exercise and active strategies for coping with pain, quality of life and functionality in the short, medium and long term in patients with fibromyalgia.

Source:  Elizagaray-Garcia I, Muriente-Gonzalez J, Gil-Martinez A. Education for patients with fibromyalgia. A systematic review of randomised clinical trials. Rev Neurol. 2016 Jan 16;62(2):49-60.

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