Altan L, Korkmaz N, Bingol U, Gunay B. Effect of Pilates training on people with fibromyalgia syndrome: a pilot study.
Objective: To investigate the effects of Pilates on pain, functional status, and quality of life in fibromyalgia, which is known to be a chronic musculoskeletal disorder.
Design: Randomized, prospective, controlled, and single-blind trial.
Setting: Physical medicine and rehabilitation department.
Participants: Women (N=50) who had a diagnosis of fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) according to the American College of Rheumatology criteria.
Intervention: The participants were randomly assigned into 2 groups. In group 1, a Pilates exercise program of 1 hour was given by a certified trainer to 25 participants 3 times a week for 12 weeks. In group 2, which was designed as the control group, 25 participants were given a home exercise (relaxation/stretching) program. In both groups, pre- (week 0) and posttreatment (week 12 and week 24) evaluation was performed by one of the authors, who was blind to the group allocation.
Main outcome measures: Primary outcome measures were pain (visual analog scale) and Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ). Exploratory outcome measures were number of tender points, algometric score, chair test, and Nottingham Health Profile.
Results: Twenty-five Pilates exercise and 24 relaxation/stretching exercise participants completed the study. In group 1, significant improvement was observed in both pain and FIQ at week 12 but only in FIQ at 24 weeks. In group 2, no significant improvement was obtained in pain and FIQ at week 12 and week 24. Comparison of the 2 groups showed significantly superior improvement in pain and FIQ in group 1 at week 12 but no difference between the 2 groups at week 24.
Conclusions: We suggest Pilates as an effective and safe method for people with FMS. Our study is the first clinical study designed to investigate the role of the Pilates method in FMS treatment. We believe that further research with more participants and longer follow-up periods could help assess the therapeutic value of this popular physical exercise method.