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Fibromyalgia Research on Physical Performance

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a rheumatic autoimmune syndrome that is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, and an array of other symptoms. The symptoms may vary from day to day, ranging from moderate discomfort to severe disability. Fibromyalgia means pain of the muscles and other fibrous tissue. Conditions that may commonly mimic fibromyalgia include hypothyroidism, lupus, Lyme disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and infections. There may be a link between fibromyalgia and sleep disturbance disorder, since most fibromyalgia patients have disruptive sleep patterns. Other factors that may contribute to the development of fibromyalgia or its symptoms are psychological stress, immune or endocrine abnormalities, mitochondrial uncoupling of energy production, or biochemical abnormalities in the central nervous system. Many patients have no apparent underlying disorders, while others who develop fibromyalgia may have conditions such as those mentioned above.

A study published in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity investigated differences in physical performance in people with and without fibromyalgia age 50 and over. Perceived function and six performance tests (multidimensional balance, aerobic endurance, overall functional mobility, lower body strength, and gait velocity—normal or fast) were used as dependent variables. Fibromyalgia status, age, gender depression and physical activity level were the independent variables. The results were significant differences between adults with and adults without FM on perceived function and all physical performance measures. Results of the significant differences of the independent variables between adults with and adults without FM were as expected. The dependent variables accounted for 16 to 65 percent of variance in all regression models.1

1 Jones CJ, Rutledge DN, Aquino J. Predictors of Physical Performance and Functional Ability in People 50+ With and Without Fibromyalgia. JAPA. Jul2010