Biofeedback/relaxation training and exercise interventions for fibromyalgia: a prospective trial

Arthritis Care Res. 1998 Jun;11(3):196-209. doi: 10.1002/art.1790110307.


Objective: To compare the effectiveness of biofeedback/relaxation, exercise, and a combined program for the treatment of fibromyalgia.

Methods: Subjects (n = 119) were randomly assigned to one of 4 groups: 1) biofeedback/relaxation training, 2) exercise training, 3) a combination treatment, or 4) an educational/attention control program.

Results: All 3 treatment groups produced improvements in self-efficacy for function relative to the control condition. In addition, all treatment groups were significantly different from the control group on tender point index scores, reflecting a modest deterioration by the attention control group rather than improvements by the treatment groups. The exercise and combination groups also resulted in modest improvements on a physical activity measure. The combination group best maintained benefits across the 2-year period.

Conclusion: This study demonstrates that these 3 treatment interventions result in improved self-efficacy for physical function which was best maintained by the combination group.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Biofeedback, Psychology* / methods
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Exercise Therapy* / methods
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic* / methods
  • Prospective Studies
  • Relaxation Therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome