Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate predictors of high physical function in people with fibromyalgia (FM).
Design: Cross-sectional descriptive, correlational study of 2,580 persons with FM who responded to an online survey during fall 2005.
Methods: The survey indicated self-reported physical activity levels, functional abilities, symptoms, health care costs, employment status, work productivity, self management strategies. It had adequate validity and reliability. A significant binary logistic regression model of predictors of physical function (individual factors, symptoms, self management strategies) was validated using backwards logistic regression.
Findings: Significant explanatory variables of high physical function were: men, greater education, younger age, lower intensity fatigue, spasticity, and balance problems, not using prescription pain medications, using aerobic or strength training exercise, and not using relaxation methods.
Conclusions: People with FM suffer from multiple symptoms and use many modalities to control symptoms to remain functional. Given knowledge of predictors of physical function in FM, health care providers might be able to develop strategies to promote better functioning. Prospective trials are needed to track the natural course of study variables, measuring their effect on function, and to test effects of interventions to maximize function.