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Pilot Randomized Trial of Integrated Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Neuromuscular Training for Juvenile Fibromyalgia: The FIT Teens Program

      Highlights

      • Results of this pilot trial of the Fibromyalgia Integrative Training for Teens (FIT Teens) program were promising.
      • FIT Teens was more effective than cognitive-behavioral therapy-only in the reduction of disability and pain.
      • Mood symptoms improved, and fear of movement was reduced after FIT Teens.

      Abstract

      Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) improves coping and daily functioning in adolescents with juvenile fibromyalgia (JFM), but is less effective in reducing pain. This pilot trial evaluated the efficacy of a novel intervention (Fibromyalgia Integrative Training for Teens; FIT Teens) which integrates CBT with specialized neuromuscular exercise training to enhance the effect of treatment on reducing pain and disability. Forty adolescents with JFM (12–18 years) were randomized to CBT-only or FIT Teens. Treatment was conducted in group-based sessions over 8 weeks with assessments at baseline, post-treatment, and 3-month follow-up (primary end point). Primary outcomes were pain intensity and functional disability. Secondary outcomes were depressive symptoms, fear of movement, and pain catastrophizing. Thirty-six participants (mean age=15.33 years; 90% female) completed the program. Intent to treat analysis was conducted to evaluate differences between the FIT Teens and CBT groups from baseline to 3-month follow-up, controlling for baseline group differences. Participants in the FIT Teens group showed significantly greater decreases in pain than the CBT group. FIT Teens participants also showed significant improvements in disability, but did not differ from CBT-only at the 3-month end point. Results provide preliminary evidence that the FIT Teens intervention provides added benefits beyond CBT in the treatment of JFM, particularly in pain reduction.

      Perspective

      Results from this pilot randomized controlled trial of a new combined CBT and specialized neuromuscular exercise intervention (FIT Teens), compared with CBT alone suggested that FIT Teens offers stronger treatment benefits than CBT alone at initial treatment follow-up, especially with respect to the outcome of pain reduction.

      Key words

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