Protocol for a phase II, multicenter, open-label, randomized controlled trial to compare the efficacy of gamification using Nintendo Switch Ring Fit Adventure game versus standard exercise in the treatment of fibromyalgia
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Background: Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic condition related to dysfunctional central pain processing mechanisms, which affects 3-6% of the world population, leading to widespread pain, stiffness, and tenderness of the muscles, tendons, and joints, as well as restless sleep, fatigue, depression, and anxiety. Exercise is the most effective way of reducing pain and improving global well-being in people with FM, but such patients present an important limitation to exercise adherence.
Objective: We aim to evaluate whether a home-based gamification strategy will improve the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire Revised (FIQR) scores in female patients aged 18-60 years old as an alternative to traditional exercise.
Methods: The proposed trial is a multicenter, phase II, open-label, parallel, randomized, superiority trial. Female patients ranging from 18 to 60 years old with a diagnosis of FM will be randomized to the intervention group, designed to play the Nintendo Switch Ring Fit Adventure game on three home-based weekly sessions, or to the control group, which will receive general educational guidance through videos and pamphlets provided by the study staff for a total of 12 weeks. The primary outcome will be the mean change in FIQR score results.
Discussion: The development of new strategies to increase exercise adherence can enhance the control of symptoms such as pain, depression, low quality of sleep, and physical limitation in FM patients, thereby improving their quality of life. We believe that gamification strategies such as the one used here can make physical activity more playful, accessible, and dynamic, motivating patients and increasing their physical function compared to those seeking center-based or conventional exercises.