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J Clin Rheumatol. 2011 Mar;17(2):64-8. doi: 10.1097/RHU.0b013e31820e7ea7.

Effects of lifestyle physical activity in adults with fibromyalgia: results at follow-up.

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  • 1Division of Rheumatology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.



In a 12-week randomized controlled trial of the effects of lifestyle physical activity (LPA) on symptoms and function among adults with fibromyalgia, we found that LPA participants increased their average daily step count by 54%, improved their self-reported functioning by 18%, and reduced their pain by 35%.


The objective of the study was to evaluate the intermediate (6 months) and long-term (12 months) effects of the LPA intervention on outcomes.


Participants completed follow-up assessments of physical activity, pain, fibromyalgia-related function, fatigue, depression, number of tender points, 6-minute walk test, and perceived improvement at 6 and 12 months after intervention.


Of the 73 participants who completed the 12-week trial, 53 (73%) completed both the 6- and 12-month follow-up. Although the LPA participants reported greater perceived improvement at each follow-up, they did not differ from controls on pain, physical activity, tenderness, fatigue, depression, or the 6-minute walk test. Self-reported functioning declined markedly at follow-up for the LPA participants.


Although participants reported greater perceived improvement at each assessment, the beneficial effects of LPA on physical activity, function, and pain found after the 12-week intervention were not sustained over time. This recidivism is seen in studies of activity and exercise in nearly any condition, and innovative methods that may prevent this are a focus of future studies.

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