Women with Fibromyalgia Have Worse Balance than Those Without, Study Finds

Women with Fibromyalgia Have Worse Balance than Those Without, Study Finds
Women with fibromyalgia score more poorly on balance tests — especially those performed with their eyes closed — than those without the disease, according to a newly published Brazilian study. The study, “Static postural sway of women with and without fibromyalgia syndrome: A cross-sectional study,” appeared in the journal Clinical Biomechanics. Its authors attribute this worse performance to pain, fatigue, depression and anxiety. Researchers at the Federal University of São Carlos, in the state of São Paulo, studied 29 women with fibromyalgia and 20 without. All had undergone a balance evaluation and filled out questionnaires on depression, anxiety, sleep quality, pain and fatigue. Scientists evaluated postural sway, or balance, by measuring the body’s behavior during quiet standing. They then asked participants to stand with eyes opened, with eyes closed, and as still as possible for 60 seconds with one foot in front of the other, on both the left and right sides, and with eyes open and eyes closed. They found that women with fibromyalgia had worse postural sway than those without, in all situations. Fibromyalgia women also scored worse in all questionnaires on pain, fatigue, anxiety and depression. “These balance alterations may be an adaptation to the severe pain these patients experience as well as to muscle weakness and other symptoms severity," researchers wrote. "These balance problems may interfere negatively in quality of life and predispose [fibromyalgia] patients to a greater fall risk and physical incapacity." Ac
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