Resistance exercise improves muscle strength, health status and pain intensity in fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia (FM) is characterized by chronic widespread pain, increased pain sensitivity and tenderness. Muscle strength in women with FM is lower in comparison to healthy women. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a progressive resistance exercise program on muscle strength, health status, and current pain intensity in women with FM. Significant improvements were found for isometric knee-extension force (p = 0.010), health status (p = 0.038), current pain intensity (p = 0.033), 6MWT (p = 0.003), isometric elbow flexion force (p = 0.02), pain disability (p = 0.005), and pain acceptance (p = 0.043) in the resistance exercise group (n = 56) when compared to the control group (n = 49). PGIC differed significantly (p = 0.001) in favor of the resistance exercise group at post-treatment examinations. No significant differences between the resistance exercise group and the active control group were found regarding change in self-reported questionnaires from baseline to 13-18 months.

Person-centered progressive resistance exercise was observed to be a feasible mode of exercise for women with FM, improving muscle strength, health status, and current pain intensity when assessed immediately following the intervention.