Background/objective: Respiratory problems can aggravate pain located in the coincident areas with tender points in the upper half of the body in patients with fibromyalgia (FM) and easily become fatigued, thus can lead to a decrease in the functionality of daily activities. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a breathing exercises program on pain thresholds tolerance on tender points and FM impact on daily life.
Methods/design: Thirty-five women with FM (age 34-67 years) were randomly assigned to an exercise group (n = 18), performing breathing exercises (30 min/session, 7 times/week; for 12 weeks), or to a control group (n = 17). Pain thresholds tolerance on tender points were measured by the physician using digital pressure algometer and FM impact on daily life was evaluated with the Portuguese version of the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ).
Results: After 12 weeks of breathing exercises significant improvements were observed in the mean values of the treatment effects on pain thresholds tolerance on tender points and in the functional capacity to perform daily life, pain, and fatigue in favor of the exercise group. Gains in second rib, occiput, and supraspinatus pairs of the tender points predict improvements in the functional capacity, pain, and fatigue.
Conclusion: Our study demonstrated that breathing exercises produced relevant benefits on pain thresholds tolerance on tender points located in the upper half of the body, some of which predicted improvements in the impact of FM in the functional capacity to perform daily life, pain, and fatigue. These results provide further support of an idea that breathing exercises are a real and effective intervention to consider in women with FM.
Trial registration: International Standard Randomized Controlled Trial Number ISRCTN37081460, available information in www.isrctn.com/ ISRCTN37081460.
Keywords: FIQ; breathing exercises; daily life; fibromyalgia; pain thresholds tolerance.