Exercise beneficial in fibromyalgia syndrome

Clinical question: 
Is exercise effective for treating fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS)?
Bottom line: 
Supervised aerobic exercise training has beneficial effects on physical capacity and FMS symptoms. 1 Strength training may also have benefits on some FMS symptoms. ยน When compared to no exercising, aerobic exercise training may: Reduce pain by 2 points on a scale of 0 to 10 Improve overall well-being by one point on a scale of 0-10. When compared to no strength training, exercise may: Reduce pain by 49 fewer points on a scale of 0 to 100 Improve overall well-being by 41 points on a scale of 0 to 100 Lead to 2 fewer active tender points on a scale of 0 to 18. 1. Wolfe F et al. Arthritis and Rheumatism 1995 ;38 :19-28
Aerobic and strength training may result in reduction in pain and tender points and improvements in overall well-being but may not lead to any difference in physical function. It is not known whether exercise training for more than 12 weeks improves other symptoms such as fatigue, stiffness or poor sleep.
FMS is a syndrome expressed by chronic widespread body pain which leads to reduced physical fitness and frequent use of health care services. Overall prevalence has been reported at 2%. Exercise therapy is commonly recommended as a treatment.
Review CD#: 
January, 2008
Authored by: 
Brian R McAvoy