Effects of aerobic exercise on pain perception, affect, & level of disability in individuals with fibromyalgia (FM)

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE. The purpose of this study was to evaluate

the effect of aerobic walking on the pain, disability, and

psychological symptoms of individuals with fibromyalgia.

SUBJECTS. Nineteen subjects with fibromyalgia (2 men, 17

women), aged 30 to 69 years (mean = 49.35, SD = 11.83),


METHODS. Ten subjects walked 20 minutes, three

times per week, for 8 weeks at 60% to 70% of the predicted

maximum heart rate for their age. Nine subjects served as

sedentary controls. Each subject completed pretests and

posttests of the McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ), the Sickness

Impact Profile (SIP), and the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI).

Due to initial differences on all measures, final scores were

adjusted and analyzed by an analysis of covariance.


The experimental group had lower scores on the MPQ on two of

the three BSI indexes, and on the Psychosocial Dimension scale

of the SIP, but higher ratings on the Physical Dimension scale

of the SIP than did the control group on final testing. Only

the differences on one index of the BSI and the Physical

Dimension scale of the SIP were significant.

CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION. The results of the study are

inconclusive. There were trends suggestive of a beneficial

response to aerobic walking (lower psychological and pain

ratings) but limited significant findings and higher physical

disability ratings, for these individuals with fibromyalgia.

Nichols DS, Glenn TM

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