A randomized, controlled trial of exercise and education for individuals with fibromyalgia.

Authors: Gowans SE (1,2) , Dehueck A (1,2) , Voss S (1,2) , Richardson M (1,3)
(1) Department of Rehabilitation Services, The Toronto Hospital (2) Department of Physical Therapy, University of Toronto (3) Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Toronto
Source: Arthritis Care Res. 1999 Apr;12(2):120-8
DOI: 10.1002/1529-0131(199904)12:2<120::AID-ART7>3.0.CO;2-4 Publication date: 1999 Apr E-Publication date: June 12, 2001 Availability: abstract Copyright: © 1999 by the American College of Rheumatology
Language: English Countries: Not specified Location: Not specified Correspondence address: S. E. Gowans,
Department of Rehabilitation Services, The Toronto Hospital, 200 Elizabeth Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5G 2C4 Canada


Article abstract


To evaluate the efficacy of a 6-week exercise and educational program for patients with fibromyalgia.


Forty-one subjects were randomly assigned to the program or served as waiting list controls. Program outcome was assessed with a 6-minute walk test, the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, a Self-Efficacy Scale, and a "knowledge" questionnaire (based on information provided during the educational sessions). Waiting list control subjects subsequently completed the program. Program outcome was reassessed 3 or 6 months post-program.


The program produced significant improvements in 6-minute walk distance, well-being, fatigue, self-efficacy (for controlling pain and other symptoms), and knowledge. At followup, immediate gains in walk distance, well-being, and self-efficacy were maintained, but gains in fatigue and knowledge were lost.


Short-term exercise and educational programs can produce immediate and sustained benefits for patients with fibromyalgia. The benefits of our program may be due to exercise or education since both interventions were given.

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