Objective: To identify patients' perceptions of the role and benefits of exercise in the treatment of fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS).Design: A postal questionnaire was mailed to all 225 members of the Northern Ireland Fibromyalgia Support Group. The questionnaire consisted of 19 questions and was sub-divided into four sections: i.e. (1) background information; (2) previous treatment; (3) opinions on the role of exercise in FMS and (4) current participation in, and barriers to, exercise. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics. Results: A response rate of 51.1% (115/225) was achieved. Forty nine percent of (57) respondents were receiving FMS-associated disability benefits and 13% (15) were working fulltime. All reported previous treatment for FMS. Ninety-six (84%) had received medication and 82 (71. %) exercise-based therapy. Just over half (n=42/82) of those who had participated in exercise therapy reported it to be an effective management strategy. Two thirds (n=48/71) of those who used bed rest, and over half (52/96) of those who used medications reported these interventions to be effective in the management of their FMS. Eighty-two per cent (n=94) "agreed" or "strongly agreed" that exercise improved fitness and 60% (n=69) "agreed" or "strongly agreed" that exercise increased feelings of well-being, but only 13.9% (n=16) reported that it reduced their pain. The most commonly reported barriers to exercise were fatigue (85%, n=98) and pain (73%, n=84). Conclusion: Exercise therapy is a common treatment for FMS, but while respondents accepted its general health benefits, the vast majority did not report that it reduced their pain.
|Publication status||Published - 2003|