Published in Arthritis Care Res
Authors: Soriano-Maldonado A et al
OBJECTIVE This population-based cross-sectional study aimed to characterize the association of different components of physical fitness with pain levels, pain-related catastrophizing and chronic pain self-efficacy in women with fibromyalgia (FM).
METHODS Four hundred sixty-eight women with FM participated. The experience of pain was assessed with different tools (algometry, numerical rating scale [revised FM impact questionnaire], visual analogue scale and bodily pain subscale [SF-36 health survey]). We also assessed pain-related catastrophizing and chronic pain self-efficacy. Physical fitness was assessed with performance-based tests (Senior Fitness Test battery and handgrip dynamometry). A standardized composite score was computed for each component of physical fitness (aerobic fitness, muscle strength, flexibility and motor agility), and their average comprised a clustered ‘global fitness profile’.
RESULTS Overall, higher physical fitness was consistently associated with lower levels of pain, lower pain-related catastrophizing, and higher chronic pain self-efficacy (regardless of the pain assessment method and the fitness test evaluated). Muscle strength and flexibility were independently associated with pain (both, P<0.005) and participants with high muscle strength+high flexibility (combined effect) had the lowest levels of pain in this population. Aerobic fitness and flexibility were independently associated with pain-related catastrophizing (both P<0.001) and chronic-pain self-efficacy (both P<0.001) and participants with high flexibility+high aerobic fitness (combined effect) had the best catastrophizing and self-efficacy profiles.
CONCLUSIONS Our results suggest that higher physical fitness is associated with lower levels of pain, lower pain-related catastrophizing, and higher chronic pain self-efficacy in women with FM. These results might have implications for future intervention studies in this population.