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Papers of the Week

Papers: 2 Jul 2022 - 8 Jul 2022

2022 Jul 07

Rheumatol Int

Managing fibromyalgia with complementary and alternative medical exercise: a systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials.


Vasileios P, Styliani P, Nifon G, Pavlos S, Aris F, Ioannis P
Rheumatol Int. 2022 Jul 07.
PMID: 35796820.


Fibromyalgia is a chronic medical condition of unclear etiopathology that diminished patients' quality of life; chronic pain is the main symptom, yet patients with fibromyalgia struggle also with depression, anxiety, and insomnia. For many years, pharmaceutical management of pain was the mainstay of treatment. In the latest decade, conventional low-impact aerobic exercise and complementary and alternative medical (CAM) exercise have become important when structuring a personalized therapeutic plan, since side effects are practically inexistent. Heterogenous studies with different methodological approaches have failed to display a clear clinical effect. We conducted a systematic review with meta-analysis of clinical trials putting emphasis on standardized measurable outcomes (Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, FIQ) in our effort to draw a safe conclusion on CAM exercise's effect. After analyzing 14 studies, including 886 patients, meta analysis showed CAM exercise had a beneficial effect on patients' FIQ score reports: standardized mean difference (SMD) 1.330 (95% CI 0.733-1.928). Among them, dance and Tai chi, had a more profound effect: SMD 1.969 (95% CI 0.575-3.364) and SMD 1.852 (95% CI 0.119-3.584), respectively. However, the risk of bias was overall medium to high and statistical heterogeneity was very high. Our meta-regression analysis failed to identify any variable that could account for high heterogeneity. Even though more experimental studies should be done on this subject, CAM exercise seems beneficial for patients with Fibromyalgia.