Regular physical exercise tends to benefit people with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). The effects have been observed regarding aerobic power and strength; however, results concerning flexibility have been controversial. In general, studies have evaluated specific joints or tests involving only a single body movement. The aim of this study was to compare the flexibility profile of FMS and asymptomatic women using a more comprehensive test protocol regarding the number of movements and joints involved. The sample consisted of 30 women divided into two groups: asymptomatic (n = 15; mean age: 50.2 ± 8.2 years; mean weight: 63.0 ± 9.6 kg; mean height: 157 ± 6 cm) and fibromyalgia (n = 15; mean age: 47.3 ± 9.4 years; mean weight: 61.9 ± 12.2 kg; mean height: 159 ± 7 cm). Flexibility was measured using the Flexitest, which was evaluated by the global index of flexibility (Flexindex), and the five indices of variability of joint mobility: intermovement (IVIM), interjoint (IVIA), flexion-extension (IVFE), between segment (IVES) and distal-proximal (IVDP). All of the indices were calculated based on the results of the 20 movements of the Flexitest. There was no difference between groups (44.4 ± 3.7 vs. 45.7 ± 4.1 points, for asymptomatic and fibromyalgia, respectively; p = 0.379; 95% confidence interval (CI): -4.2 to 1.6). Most of the sample (83%) showed an average level of flexibility based on reference values for gender and age. Only IVIM showed a significant difference between the groups. Asymptomatic and fibromyalgic women have similar overall levels of flexibility but with different profiles.
Chronic pain; Joints; Range of motion