Effectiveness of Therapeutic Exercise in Fibromyalgia Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials

Biomed Res Int. 2017:2017:2356346. doi: 10.1155/2017/2356346. Epub 2017 Sep 20.


Objective: The aim of this study was to summarize evidence on the effectiveness of therapeutic exercise in Fibromyalgia Syndrome.

Design: Studies retrieved from the Cochrane Plus, PEDro, and Pubmed databases were systematically reviewed. Randomized controlled trials and meta-analyses involving adults with fibromyalgia were included. The primary outcomes considered in this systematic review were pain, global well-being, symptoms of depression, and health-related quality of life.

Results: Effects were summarized using standardized mean differences with 95% confidence intervals using a random effects model. This study provides strong evidence that physical exercise reduces pain (-1.11 [95% CI] -1.52; -0.71; overall effect p < 0.001), global well-being (-0.67 [95% CI] -0.89, -0.45; p < 0.001), and symptoms of depression (-0.40 [95% CI] -0.55, -0.24; p < 0.001) and that it improves both components of health-related quality of life (physical: 0.77 [95% CI] 0.47; 1.08; p < 0.001; mental: 0.49 [95% CI] 0.27; 0.71; p < 0.001).

Conclusions: This study concludes that aerobic and muscle strengthening exercises are the most effective way of reducing pain and improving global well-being in people with fibromyalgia and that stretching and aerobic exercises increase health-related quality of life. In addition, combined exercise produces the biggest beneficial effect on symptoms of depression.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia / physiopathology*
  • Fibromyalgia / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Syndrome