The difficulties in finding successful treatments for patients with fibromyalgia are well known within the field of rheumatology. Indeed, only one drug has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of patients with fibromyalgia, and must be used at high doses to elicit a response. A recent study by Rooks et al. evaluated physical exercise interventions in patients with fibromyalgia and found evidence of symptom improvement. Patients allocated to the exercise regimens showed significant reductions in pain that were sustained through a 6-month follow-up period. Improvements in functioning, depression and vitality, attributable to exercise, were also substantial. Random assignment to multiple treatments, the use of state-of-the-art methods and measures, and a close examination of effects in comparison to control conditions all add confidence in the findings of the Rooks et al. study. Despite some problems with the study, including its relatively short duration and the increased attrition rate in the control group, clinicians should be encouraged to incorporate a rigorous exercise program into their therapeutic strategies for patients with fibromyalgia. Several other behavioral interventions that focus on strengthening the resilience capacities of those suffering from chronic pain are also currently being tested.
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