Perceptions of barriers to exercise in people with fibromyalgia syndrome: a focus group study

Deborrah Russell, Inma Álvarez Gallardo, Iseult M Wilson, Joseph G McVeigh

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Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) is a common chronic pain condition that has a profound effect on the individual. Aerobic exercise is important in the management of FMS, however, many are unable to tolerate exercise interventions. A focus group study was designed to investigate the individual and collective experiences of barriers to exercise for people with FMS. Following ethical approval, participants were recruited purposively from patient support groups. Inclusion criteria were: adults who had been formally diagnosed with FMS and who had participated in an exercise intervention for FMS. Focus groups were video and audio recorded, and facilitated by a physiotherapist with experience in qualitative data collection. At the end of the study descriptive summaries were sent to participants for verification, the data were transcribed verbatim and the transcripts were anonymised, coded and analysed for thematic content by three independent evaluators. The interaction (verbal and non-verbal) between the participants was also analysed.Fourteen people participated in the focus groups (women, n = 12; men, n = 2) and data saturation was reached. The over-arching theme to emerge was a lack of understanding of the condition by others (family, friends and health care professionals), and society in general. This was mirrored by the analysis of the verbal and non-verbal interactions between participants. Normal activities of daily living (such as housework) were perceived as exercise and participants reported that the negative and often prolonged effects of exercise or physical activity were not appreciated by others.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
PublisherInternational Institute for Qualitative Methodology
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 18 Oct 2016
EventQualitative Health Research - Kelowna, Canada
Duration: 18 Oct 2016 → …


ConferenceQualitative Health Research
Period18/10/16 → …


  • Fibromyalgia
  • exercise


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