To evaluate the effect of swimming on pain, functional capacity, aerobic capacity, and quality of life in patients with fibromyalgia (FM).
Randomized controlled trial.
Rheumatology outpatient clinics of a university hospital.
Women with FM (N=75; age range, 18–60y) randomly assigned to a swimming group (SG) (n=39) or a walking group (WG) (n=36).
The SG performed 50 minutes of swimming 3 times a week for 12 weeks, with a heart rate at 11 beats under the anaerobic threshold. The WG performed walking with a heart rate at the anaerobic threshold, with the same duration and frequency as the SG.
Main Outcome Measures
Participants were evaluated before the exercise protocols (t0), at 6 weeks (t6), and at 12 weeks (t12) after the onset of the protocols. The primary outcome measure was the visual analog scale for pain. The secondary measurements were the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire and the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey for quality of life; a spiroergometric test for cardiorespiratory variables; and the timed Up & Go test for functional performance.
Patients in both groups experienced improvement in pain after the 12-week program, with no difference between groups (P=.658). The same results were found regarding functional capacity and quality of life. Moreover, no statistical difference between groups was found regarding aerobic capacity over time.
Swimming, like walking, is an effective method for reducing pain and improving both functional capacity and quality of life in patients with FM.
List of abbreviations:FIQ (Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire), FM (fibromyalgia), SF-36 (Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey), SG (swimming group), VAS (visual analog scale), Vo2peak (peak oxygen consumption), WG (walking group)
To read this article in full you will need to make a payment
Purchase one-time access:Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
One-time access price info
- For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
- For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'
Subscribe:Subscribe to Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
Already an online subscriber? Sign in
Register: Create an account
Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect
- [Brazilian consensus on the treatment of fibromyalgia] [Portuguese].Rev Bras Reumatol. 2010; 50: 56-66
- Aerobic fitness in patients with fibrositis. A controlled study of respiratory gas exchange and 133xenon clearance from exercising muscle.Arthritis Rheum. 1989; 32: 454-460
- Oxygen uptake during exercise in patients with primary fibromyalgia syndrome.J Rheumatol. 1993; 20: 860-865
- Predictors of physical performance and functional ability in people 50+ with and without fibromyalgia.J Aging Phys Act. 2010; 18: 353-368
- Peak oxygen uptake and ventilatory anaerobic threshold in fibromyalgia.J Rheumatol. 2002; 29: 353-357
- Functional capacity, muscle strength and falls in women with fibromyalgia.Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2012; 27: 578-583
- Self-assessed physical function levels of women with fibromyalgia: a national survey.Womens Health Issues. 2008; 18: 406-412
- Quality of life issues for fibromyalgia patients.Arthritis Care Res. 2000; 13: 42-50
- Antidepressant treatment of fibromyalgia: a meta-analysis and review.Psychosomatics. 2000; 41: 104-113
- Group exercise, education, and combination self management in women with fibromyalgia.Arch Intern Med. 2007; 167: 2192-2200
- Non-pharmacological treatment of chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain.Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2007; 21: 513-534
- Strength training induced adaptations in neuromuscular function of premenopausal women with fibromyalgia: comparison with healthy women.Ann Rheum Dis. 2001; 60: 21-26
- Resistance exercise improves muscle strength, health status and pain intensity in fibromyalgia: a randomized controlled trial.Arthritis Res Ther. 2015; 17: 16
- The concept of primary fibromyalgia: clinical value, relation and significance to other musculoskeletal pain syndromes.Pain. 1988; 33: 273-287
- Pool exercise combined with an education program for patients with fibromyalgia syndrome. A prospective, randomized study.J Rheumatol. 2000; 27: 2473-2481
- Hydrotherapy and conventional physiotherapy improve total sleep time and quality of life of fibromyalgia patients: randomized clinical trial.Sleep Med. 2006; 7: 293-296
- Spa therapy in fibromyalgia: a randomised controlled clinic study.Rheumatol Int. 2005; 26: 68-72
- EULAR evidence-based recommendations for the management of fibromyalgia syndrome.Ann Rheum Dis. 2008; 67: 536-541
- Exercise therapy for fibromyalgia.Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2011; 15: 358-367
- The American College of Rheumatology 1990 criteria for the classification of fibromyalgia: report of the multicenter criteria committee.Arthiritis Rheum. 1990; 33: 160-172
- Reliability of pain scales in the assessment of literate and illiterate patients with rheumatoid arthritis.J Rheumatol. 1990; 17: 1022-1024
- [Validation of the Brazilian version of Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ)] [Portuguese].Rev Bras Reumatol. 2006; 46: 24-31
- [Translation and validation for Brazilian Portuguese language of the Generic Questionnaire for Evaluation of Quality of Life SF-36] [Portuguese].Rev Bras Reumatol. 1999; 39: 143-150
- The timed “Up & Go”: a test of basic functional mobility for frail elderly persons.J Am Geriatr Soc. 1991; 39: 142-148
- Aerobic fitness in fibromyalgia.J Rheumatol. 2003; 30: 1060-1069
- A randomized controlled trial of deep water running: clinical effectiveness of aquatic exercise to treat fibromyalgia.Arthritis Rheum. 2006; 55: 57-65
- EULAR recommendations for the management of knee osteoarthritis: report of a task force of the Standing Committee for International Clinical Studies Including Therapeutic Trials (ESCISIT).Ann Rheum Dis. 2000; 59: 936-944
- Testing hypothesis.in: Filho U.D. Introducing biostatistics to simple mortals. 2nd ed. Ed. Ltda Negócios, Sao Paulo1999: 70-72
- Efficacy and effectiveness of exercise on tender points in adults with fibromyalgia: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.Arthritis. 2011; 2011: 1-10
- Investigation of the effects of pool-based exercise on fibromyalgia syndrome.Rheumatol Int. 2003; 24: 272-277
- Thalassotherapy for fibromyalgia: a randomized controlled trial comparing aquatic exercises in sea water and water pool.Rheumatol Int. 2008; 29: 147-152
- Spa treatment for primary fibromyalgia syndrome: a combination of thalassotherapy, exercise and patient education improves symptoms and quality of life.Rheumatology. 2005; 44: 539-546
- The effectiveness of aquatic physical therapy in the treatment of fibromyalgia: a systematic review with meta-analysis.Clin Rehabil. 2013; 27: 892-908
- Effectiveness of aquatic therapy in the treatment of fibromyalgia syndrome: a randomized controlled open study.Rheumatol Int. 2008; 28: 885-890
- The prevalence and characteristics of fibromyalgia in the general population.Arthritis Rheum. 1995; 38: 19-28
- Exercise in warm water decreases pain and improves cognitive function in middle-aged women with fibromyalgia.Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2007; 25: 823-830
- Does moderate-to-high intensity Nordic walking improve functional capacity and pain in fibromyalgia? A prospective randomized controlled trial.Arthritis Res Ther. 2010; 12: R189
- American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: guidance for prescribing exercise.Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011; 43: 1334-1359
- Efficacy of different types of aerobic exercise in fibromyalgia syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.Arthritis Res Ther. 2010; 12: R79
- Exercise physiology: energy, nutrition and human performance.5th ed. Guanabara Koogan, Rio de Janeiro2003
- Aquatic training and detraining on fitness and quality of life in fibromyalgia.Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007; 39: 1044-1050
Published online: February 20, 2016
Supported by the São Paulo Research Foundation (grant no. 2010/51238-9).
Clinical Trial Registration No.: NCT01547195.
© 2016 by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine