The December 19, 2008 issue of the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology released information from a study that was done to test the balance ability and fall frequency of Fibromyalgia patients compared to those of healthy participants.
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 severity.
The results of the study revealed that:
- the Fibromyalgia patients had significantly impaired balance compared to that of the healthy participants in all areas of the BESTest.
- the Fibromyalgia patients performed poorly compared to that of the healthy participants on balance confidence.
- the 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).
- in a six-month period, Fibromyalgia patients reported a total of 37 falls; the healthy participants reported a total of 6 falls.
The study results suggest that Fibromyalgia may affect the “peripheral and/or central mechanisms of postural control”. Fibromyalgia patients were aware of their balance problems and Fibromyalgia is associated with increased falls and impaired balance.