According to a recent study from a research team at the Emory University School of Medicine, adolescents with juvenile fibromyalgia have alterations in walking patterns, greater knee weakness, lower bilateral hip abduction strength, reduced ankle dorsiflexion and other physical and psychosocial alterations compared to healthy controls.
Juvenile fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic pain disorder that involves musculoskeletal pain and several associated symptoms that contribute to significant functional disability. Regular participation in moderate to vigorous physical activity and muscle strengthening exercises at least 2 times a week is recommended for pain management in patients with juvenile FM, but adherence to these recommendations has been found to be poor. Since the condition is associated with high risk of functional impairments and pain flares, adolescents suffering from the condition have a reduced ability to safely engage in exercise and contribute to a downward progression of disability, pain-related fear, and activity avoidance into adulthood.
To understand the types of biomechanics and biodynamic deviations prevalent in adolescents with juvenile FM so that tailored exercise-based treatments can be designed to meet their specific needs, Soumitri Sil from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta and colleagues, conducted a biomechanical assessment in a total of 17 female adolescents with a diagnosis of Juvenile Fibromyalgia and compared the research with an age-/sex- match group of healthy controls.
The assessment included gait analysis, exercises related with lower extremity strength and questionnaires assessing disability, pain intensity, depressive symptoms and fear of movement.
Results from this study revealed that compared to healthy controls, patients with juvenile FM have mild walking gait and functional performance impairments, lower left knee extension and flexion strength, and bilateral abduction strength. Furthermore, the results revealed that compared to health controls, patients with juvenile FM have higher levels of functional disability, pain intensity, depressive symptoms and fear of movement.
Based on these findings, the team of researchers reinforce the need to interventions for patients with juvenile FM, targeting functional deficits. In addition, intervention for this group of patients should also aim to increase confidence levels in order to improve functional outcomes.
The study entitled “Preliminary Evidence of Altered Biomechanics in Adolescents With Juvenile Fibromyalgia,” was published in the current issue of the journal Arthritis Care & Research.