Mixed exercise for fibromyalgia: Cochrane review


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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A new Cochrane Review which evaluated the benefits and harms of mixed exercise training for fibromyalgia has found that it probably improves health-related quality of life (HRQoL), physical function and fatigue in adults. 

Researchers examined data on 2,088 people (98% female) from 29 randomised controlled trials and compared the effects of mixed exercise training protocols that include two or more types of exercises such as aerobic, resistance and flexibility for adults with fibromyalgia with other or no exercise interventions. Major outcomes were HRQoL, pain, stiffness, fatigue, physical functioning, withdrawals and adverse events.

There were 21 studies comparing mixed exercise versus a control programme. The authors found mixed exercise probably improves HRQoL, physical function and fatigue, compared to controls but said this improvement may be small and clinically unimportant for some participants. Low‐quality evidence suggested that mixed exercise may slightly improve stiffness. 

While mixed exercise was well tolerated, the authors noted evidence on harms was scarce and said they were uncertain about its safety. 

Overall, the reviewers said they considered the quality of evidence to be low to moderate because of small numbers of people in the studies, some issues involving study design and the low quality of results.