Research to encourage exercise for fibromyalgia (REEF): Use of motivational interviewing, outcomes from a randomized-controlled trial

Dennis C. Ang, Anthony S. Kaleth, Silvia Bigatti, Steven A. Mazzuca, Mark P. Jensen, Janna Hilligoss, James Slaven, Chandan Saha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES:: Regular exercise is associated with important benefits in patients with fibromyalgia (FM). Unfortunately, long-term maintenance of exercise after a structured program is rare. The present study tested the efficacy of Motivational Interviewing (MI) to promote exercise and improve symptoms in patients with FM. METHODS:: A total of 216 patients with FM were randomized to 6 MI sessions (n=107) or an equal number of FM self-management lessons (education control/EC, n=109). Co-primary endpoints were an increase of 30 minutes in moderate-vigorous physical activity and improvement in the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ)-Physical Impairment score, assessed at pretreatment, posttreatment, and 3-month and 6-month follow-up. Secondary outcomes included clinically meaningful improvements in FIQ score, pain severity ratings, and a 6-minute walk test. RESULTS:: There were no significant treatment group differences in either co-primary endpoint at 6-month follow-up. However, more MI participants than controls exhibited meaningful improvements in FIQ score at 6-month follow-up (62.9% vs. 49.5%, P=0.06). Compared with EC participants, MI participants also displayed a larger increment in their 6-minute walk test (43.9 vs. 24.8 m, P=0.03). In addition, MI was superior to EC in increasing the number of hours of physical activity immediately postintervention and in reducing pain severity both immediately after the intervention and at 3-month follow-up. CONCLUSIONS:: Despite a lack of benefits on long-term outcome, MI seems to have short-term benefits with respect to self-report physical activity and clinical outcomes. This is the first study in FM that explicitly addresses exercise maintenance as a primary aim. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION:: NCT00573612.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)296-304
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Journal of Pain
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2013


  • Exercise
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Pain
  • Physical activity
  • Physical function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology

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