To evaluate the effects of pool-based exercises on pain symptomatology among adults with fibromyalgia syndrome.
A systematic review and meta-analysis were carried out using PRISMA guidelines. Database search was conducted by two independent reviewers. For meta-analysis, the visual analogue scale (VAS) score for pain was used as the primary outcome and the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) score was utilized as the secondary outcome.
A total of 42 out of 292 potentially eligible studies were selected for being read in full by reviewers, 14 of which were included in meta-analysis, being 10 of them used in sensitivity analysis of either the primary or secondary outcome. Data pooled from 10 randomized controlled trials (n = 508) revealed that patients who underwent pool-based exercises exhibited a significantly lower mean in VAS score as compared to controls (SMD = -0.27, 95% CI: -0.45 to -0.09). Regarding FIQ scores, data from 10 randomized controlled trials were pooled (n = 578) and a lower mean score was also shown in the group that underwent a pool-based exercise program (SMD = -0.29, 95% CI: -0.49 to -0.09). Limitations of this study include the small sample size and moderate dropout rates in currently available clinical trials.
Pool-based exercise may provide some additional benefit for pain relief in adults with fibromyalgia as compared to either land-based or no physical exercise. Implications of key findings: Collectively, these findings suggest that pool-based exercise deserves further attention as a potential adjuvant therapeutic option for adults with fibromyalgia. PROSPERO registration number: CRD42019136755.