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Scand J Rheumatol. 1996;25(1):28-33.

Dynamic training versus relaxation training as home exercise for patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases. A randomized controlled study.

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Department of Rheumatology, Mälarsjukhuset, Eskilstuna, Sweden.


The aim of the study was to evaluate the effects of a dynamic training program versus a muscle relaxation training program as home exercise in patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases. Fifty-four patients (mean age 54 years, mean symptom duration 14 years) were randomized to one of the two programs. After personal instructions every patient exercised at home for half an hour, 5 days a week during 3 months. Before and after the interventions, all patients were assessed for health-related quality of life, joint tenderness and physical capacities. The dynamic training group had improved in perceived exertion at the walking test (p < or = 0.05), while the relaxation training group had improved their total Nottingham Health Profile (p < or = 0.01), its subscale for lack of energy (p < or = 0.05), Ritchie's articular index (p < or = 0.05), muscle function of the lower extremities (p < or = 0.01), and arm endurance (p < or = 0.01). Regarding changes in muscle function of the lower extremities during the intervention period, there was a significant difference (p < or = 0.05) between the groups in favour of the relaxation training group. The results of the study thus indicated that progressive muscle relaxation training might improve health related quality of life, reduce joint tenderness and be superior to dynamic muscle training in improving the muscle function of the lower extremities in patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases. The clinical effects were small and the results have to be interpreted with caution.

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