A comparison of the effects of exercises plus connective tissue massage to exercises alone in women with fibromyalgia syndrome: a randomized controlled trial


This study aimed to compare the effectiveness of a 6-week combined exercise program with and without connective tissue massage (CTM) on pain, fatigue, sleep problem, health status, and quality of life in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). Patients were randomly allocated into Exercise (n = 20) and Exercise + CTM (n = 20) groups. The exercise program with and without CTM was carried out 2 days a week for 6 weeks. Pain, fatigue, sleep problem with Visual Analog Scales, health status with Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ), and quality of life with Short Form-36 were evaluated. After the program, pain, fatigue and sleep problem reduced, health status (except of the scores of FIQ-1 and FIQ-10), physical functioning, role limitations due to physical health, bodily pain, role limitations due to emotional health, vitality, and general health perceptions parameters related to quality of life improved in the Exercise group, (P < 0.05). In the Exercise + CTM group, pain, fatigue and sleep problem decreased, health status and quality of life improved (P < 0.05). Pain, fatigue, sleep problem, and role limitations due to physical health improved in the Exercise + CTM group in comparison to the Exercise group (P < 0.05). The study suggested that exercises with and without CTM might be effective for decreasing pain, fatigue and sleep problem whereas increasing health status and quality of life in patients with FMS. However, exercises with CTM might be superior in improving pain, fatigue, sleep problem, and role limitations due to physical health compared to exercise alone.

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Correspondence to Seyda Toprak Celenay.

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This study did not receive any specific Grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

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Authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Toprak Celenay, S., Anaforoglu Kulunkoglu, B., Yasa, M.E. et al. A comparison of the effects of exercises plus connective tissue massage to exercises alone in women with fibromyalgia syndrome: a randomized controlled trial. Rheumatol Int 37, 1799–1806 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00296-017-3805-3

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  • Fibromyalgia
  • Exercise
  • Connective tissue massage
  • Randomized controlled trial