Table 1

Overview of findings from included studies

StudySampleMR procedureMR findingsClinical measuresPhysical exercise intervention
Ellingson et al43Chronic fibromyalgia, n=11 (11 female)fMRIExercise-induced increased activity in the left dorsolateral PFC.MPQ significantly decreased postexercise (Cohen’s d=0.39).One session of aerobic exercise. One session of 25 min moderate intensity.
Flodin et al44Chronic fibromyalgia, n=14 (14 female)Resting state fMRIOut of six connectivity pairs, four significantly changed (normalised) after the exercise intervention: (1) Insula - S1/M1 (p=0.0017), (2) Supr. Gyr. - S1/M1 (p=0.0081), (3) Supr. Gyr. - inferior PFC (p=0.0053), (4) Supr. Gyr. - cerebellum (p=0.0033)FIQ: sign improvement (p=0.04, effect size=0.53 (medium)).
SF-36 BP: no change (p=0.98).
Changes in functional connectivity due to physical exercise were not correlated with FIQ and SF-36 BP scores (all r<0.5).
15-week exercise programme including aerobic, isometric, concentric, non-concentric and stretching exercises. Two sessions a week of 60 min each.
Martinsen et al45Chronic fibromyalgia, n=19 (19 female)fMRI with Stroop Colour Word TestPostexercise, a significant change in activation of the bilateral amygdala (p<0.001) was found.FIQ: significant decreased (p=0.048)
SF-36-PCS: Intervention effect (p=0.048)
15-week exercise programme including resistance exercises. Two sessions a week of 60 min each.
Micalos et al46Chronic pain, including fibromyalgia (n=8), low back pain (n=2), complex regional pain syndrome (n=1), n=11 (9 female)fMRIExercise-induced significant change in activation of the thalamus (p=0.04).MPQ only measured at baseline, no change score available.12-week exercise programme including aerobic exercises. Two sessions a week of 20 min each.
  • BP, bodily pain; FIQ, Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire; fMRI, functional MRI; M1, primary motor cortex; MPQ, McGill Pain Questionnaire; PCS, Physical Component Score; PFC, prefrontal cortex; S1, primary somatosensory cortex; SF-36, Short Form-36; Supr. Gyr., supramarginal gyrus.