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Pain Pract. 2015 Nov;15(8):748-56. doi: 10.1111/papr.12245. Epub 2014 Sep 29.

Energy Expenditure during Functional Daily Life Performances in Patients with Fibromyalgia.

Huijnen IP1,2,3, Verbunt JA1,2,3, Meeus M4,5, Smeets RJ1,2,3.

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Research School CAPHRI, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands.
Adelante Centre of Expertise in Rehabilitation and Audiology, Hoensbroek, The Netherlands.
Academic Hospital Maastricht, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Maastricht, The Netherlands.
Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.
Pain in Motion research group, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium.



The objective of this study was to evaluate whether patients with fibromyalgia FM need more oxygen and more time to complete a walking and stair-climbing task than healthy volunteers and perceive the performance of these tasks as more strenuous. Furthermore, it was evaluated whether a less efficient performance is more pronounced in patients reporting a higher level of fear of movement.


Thirty patients with FM and 30 matched healthy volunteers completed a 500-meter walking and a stair-climbing task (60 steps) while wearing a mobile gas analyzing unit. Mean and total oxygen consumption and time needed to complete each task were recorded. After both tasks, a Borg score was used to measure perceived exertion. Fear of movement was measured with the Tampa Scale for Kinesiophobia.


Patients with FM needed more time to complete the walking and stair-climbing task and reported higher levels of exertion compared to healthy volunteers. However, the total oxygen consumption for performing both tasks was not different. In patients with FM, a higher level of fear of movement was associated with a higher perceived exertion after the walking task. Interestingly, a higher somatic focus is related to a lower mean oxygen consumption needed to perform the stair-climbing task.


In conclusion, patients with FM perceive a walking and stair-climbing task as more strenuous than healthy controls, even though they walked slower and no differences in total O2 consumption during completion of both tasks were found.


energy expenditure; fear of movement; fibromyalgia; functional daily tasks

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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