Fibromyalgia is associated with impaired balance and falls.
J Clin Rheumatol. 2009 Feb;15(1):16-21.
Jones KD, Horak FB, Winters-Stone K, Irvine JM, Bennett RM.
From the Schools of Nursing and Medicine, Oregon Health and Science
University, Portland, OR.
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to determine
whether fibromyalgia (FM) patients differ from matched healthy
controls in clinical tests of balance ability and fall frequency.
METHODS: Thirty-four FM patients and 32 age-matched controls were
administered the Balance Evaluation-Systems Test (BESTest), rated
their balance confidence with the Activities-Specific Balance
Confidence (ABC) Scale, and reported the number of falls in the last
6 months. The Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire was used to assess FM
RESULTS: FM patients had significantly impaired balance in all
components of the BESTest compared with controls. They also scored
more poorly on balance confidence. Overall FM severity (Fibromyalgia
Impact Questionnaire) correlated significantly with the BESTest and
the ABC scale. The BESTest and ABC correlated significantly with 6
commonly reported FM symptoms (excluding pain). FM patients reported
a total of 37 falls over the last 6-months compared with 6 falls in
CONCLUSION: FM is associated with balance problems and increased fall
frequency. Patients were aware of their balance problems. These
results suggest that FM may affect peripheral and/or central
mechanisms of postural control. Further objective study is needed to
identify the relative contributions of various neural and
musculoskeletal and other impairments to postural stability in FM to
provide clinicians with methods to maximize postural stability and
help fall prevention.
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