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Does a 3-month multidisciplinary intervention improve pain, body composition and physical fitness in women with fibromyalgia?
  1. Ana Carbonell-Baeza1,2,
  2. Virginia A Aparicio1,2,3,
  3. Francisco B Ortega2,3,
  4. Ana M Cuevas1,4,
  5. Inmaculada C Alvarez1,
  6. Jonatan R Ruiz2,
  7. Manuel Delgado-Fernandez1
  1. 1Department of Physical Activity and Sports, University of Granada, Granada, Spain
  2. 2Unit for Preventive Nutrition, Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge, Sweden
  3. 3Department of Physiology, University of Granada, Granada, Spain
  4. 4Department of Personality, Evaluation and Psychological Treatment, University of Granada, Granada, Spain
  1. Correspondence to Miss Ana Carbonell-Baeza, Departamento de Educación Física y Deportiva, Universidad de Granada, Carretera de Alfacar, s/n, 18011, Granada, Spain; anellba{at}


Objective To determine the effects of a 3-month multidisciplinary intervention on pain (primary outcome), body composition and physical fitness (secondary outcomes) in women with fibromyalgia (FM).

Methods 75 women with FM were allocated to a low-moderate intensity 3-month (three times/week) multidisciplinary (pool, land-based and psychological sessions) programme (n=33) or to a usual care group (n=32). The outcome variables were pain threshold, body composition (body mass index and estimated body fat percentage) and physical fitness (30 s chair stand, handgrip strength, chair sit and reach, back scratch, blind flamingo, 8 feet up and go and 6 min walk test).

Results The authors observed a significant interaction effect (group*time) for the left (L) and right (R) side of the anterior cervical (p<0.001) and the lateral epicondyle R (p=0.001) tender point. Post hoc analysis revealed that pain threshold increased in the intervention group (positive) in the anterior cervical R (p<0.001) and L (p=0.012), and in the lateral epicondyle R (p=0.010), whereas it decreased (negative) in the anterior cervical R (p<0.001) and L (p=0.002) in the usual care group. There was also a significant interaction effect for chair sit and reach. Post hoc analysis revealed improvement in the intervention group (p=0.002). No significant improvement attributed to the training was observed in the rest of physical fitness or body composition variables.

Conclusions A 3-month multidisciplinary intervention three times/week had a positive effect on pain threshold in several tender points in women with FM. Though no overall improvements were observed in physical fitness or body composition, the intervention had positive effects on lower-body flexibility.

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  • Funding The study was supported financially by the Andalusia Institute of Sport, Center of Initiatives and Cooperation to the Development (CICODE, University of Granada) and the Association of Fibromyalgia Patients of Granada (Spain). This study is also being supported by grants from the Spanish Ministry of Education (AP-2006-03676, EX-2007-1124, EX-2008-0641) and Science and Innovation (BES-2009-013442).

  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the Ethics Committee of the Virgen de las Nieves Hospital (Granada, Spain).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.