Exercise in warm water decreases pain and improves cognitive function in middle-aged women with fibromyalgia

27/02/2008

Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2007 Nov-Dec;25(6):823-30.
Munguía-Izquierdo D, Legaz-Arrese A. Section of Physical Education and Sports, University Pablo de Olavide, Seville.


PMID: 18173915

OBJECTIVES: To compare the cognitive function performance in patients with fibromyalgia (FM) with respect healthy controls and to evaluate the short-term efficacy of exercise therapy in a warm, chest-high pool on pain and cognitive function in women with FM.

METHODS: Sixty middle-aged women with FM were randomly assigned to either an exercise training group (n = 35) to perform 3 sessions per week of aquatic training (32 degrees C) including mobility, aerobic, strengthening, and relaxation exercises for 16 weeks, or a control group (n = 25). Twenty-five healthy women matched for age, weight, body mass index, and educational and physical activity levels were recruited. Pain was assessed in patients using a syringe calibrated 
like a pressure dolorimeter, and a visual analog scale. The severity of FM was evaluated using the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire. Cognitive function was measured in healthy individuals and patients using several standardized neuropsychological tests. All patients were measured at baseline and post-treatment.

RESULTS: At baseline, the healthy group evidenced cognitive performance that was significantly superior to the group of patients with FM in all of the neuropsychological tests. The exercise group 
significantly improved their pain threshold, tender point count, self-reported pain, severity of FM, and cognitive function, while in the control group the differences were not significant.

CONCLUSION: An exercise therapy three times per week for 16 weeks in a warm-water pool is an adequate treatment to decrease the pain and severity of FM well as to improve cognitive function in previously unfit women with FM and heightened painful symptomatology.