We compared the effects of therapeutic exercise (TE) combined with pain neurophysiology education (PNE) to those of TE in isolation on pain intensity, general fibromyalgia impact, mechanical pain sensitivity, pain catastrophizing, psychological distress and quality of life in women with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS).
A feasibility study with a 3 month follow-up was designed. Thirty-two patients with FMS were randomly assigned to PNE + TE group ( = 16) or to TE group ( = 16). Both groups received 30 sessions of TE (3 per week), and the PNE + TE group received eight face-to-face educational sessions. The measuring instruments used were the visual analogue scale, a standard pressure algometer, the Revised Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, the Pain Catastrophizing Scale, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and the Health Assessment Questionnaire.
The PNE + TE group showed a statistically significant decrease on pain intensity compared to TE group at short term ( = 0.015). No between-groups differences were found for mechanical pain sensitivity, general fibromyalgia impact, pain catastrophizing, psychological distress or quality of life ( > 0.05).
The combination of PNE and TE was more effective than TE for reducing pain intensity in the short-term. No differences were found for psychological distress, pain catastrophizing and quality of life after the intervention or at 3 months of follow-up.