Virtual reality-based therapy (VRBT) is a novel therapeutic approach to be used in women with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). The aim of our study is to assess the effect of VRBT to reduce the impact of FMS in outcomes such as pain, dynamic balance, aerobic capacity, fatigue, quality of life (QoL), anxiety and depression.
Systematic review with meta-analysis was conducted from a bibliographic search in PubMed, Scopus, PEDro, Web of Science and CINAHL until April 2021 in accordance with PRISMA guidelines. We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that compare VRBT versus others to assess the mentioned outcomes in women with FMS. Effect size was calculated with standardized mean difference (SMD) and its 95% confidence interval (95% CI).
Eleven RCTs involving 535 women with FMS were included. Using the PEDro scale, the mean methodological quality of the included studies was moderate (6.63 ± 0.51). Our findings showed an effect of VRBT on the impact of FMS (SMD -0.62, 95% CI -0.93 to -0.31); pain (SMD -0.45, 95% CI -0.69 to -0.21); dynamic balance (SMD -0.76, 95% CI -1.12 to -0.39); aerobic capacity (SMD 0.32, 95% CI 0.004 to 0.63); fatigue (SMD -0.58, 95% CI -1.02 to -0.14); QoL (SMD 0.55, 95% CI 0.3 to 0.81); anxiety (SMD -0.47, 95% CI -0.91 to -0.03) and depression (SMD -0.46, 95% CI -0.76 to -0.16).
VRBT is an effective therapy that reduces the impact of FMS, pain, fatigue, anxiety and depression and increases dynamic balance, aerobic capacity and quality of life in women with FMS. In addition, VRBT in combination with CTBTE showed a large effect in reducing the impact of FMS and fatigue and increasing QoL in these women.