Exercise Improves Mental Health and Physical Well-Being in Fibromyalgia Patients: How to Get the Patients Moving?

Selen Razon, Ball State University, USA

Theme: Exercise and health behaviors

Poster Number: 26

Program ID: POS-1

Presentation: October 3, 2013 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Room: Napoleon


Benefits associated with increased physical activity in Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) include the improvement of mental health and functional capacities, as well as overall health promotion and symptom reduction (Rooks, 2008). A major obstacle to the effective implementation of physical activity prescriptions in this population is the poor adherence rates to exercise programs (Hakkinen et al., 2002; Valkeinen et al., 2004). The current study aimed at investigating the effects of imagery use on perceived exertion, attention focus, and task duration in a sample of female patients diagnosed with FMS. Nineteen patients were randomly assigned to two groups: (1) imagery (n = 10), and (2) descriptive writing (n = 9). Participants performed a 20% maximal handgrip squeezing task until volitional fatigue. Ratings of perceived exertion and attention focus were recorded at 30s time intervals. RM ANOVA indicated that patients using imagery seemed to report higher self-efficacy for completing the task, and tended to endure longer on task. Neither group appeared to differ in perceived exertion and/or attention focus during effort expenditure. These findings may help improve interventions for promoting physical activity adoption and maintenance in patients with FMS. To help these patients make exercise a lifelong habit, major practical implications include designing individually tailored interventions informed by in-depth screening of the patient’s health history, Fibromyalgia index scores, daily pain levels, and personal preferences and dislikes. Future research should address the effects of modulating alternative sensory channels (such as hybrid imagery, music, and olfaction) in optimizing physical activity motivation and adherence in various symptomatic and chronic pain populations.

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