The effect of combined therapy (spa and physical therapy) on pain in various chronic diseases

Complement Ther Med. 2005 Dec;13(4):244-50. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2005.08.004. Epub 2005 Oct 11.


Objective: Spa therapy is commonly used in the treatment of daily chronic diseases practice, but its benefits are still the subjects of discussion. This study investigates possible effects of a combined spa and physical therapy program on pain and hemodynamic responses in various chronic diseases.

Methods: The pain intensity and hemodynamic responses of 472 patients involved in a spa and physical therapy program were studied retrospectively. Assessment criteria were pain [Visual Analog Scale (VAS)] and hemodynamic responses (heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate). Assessments took place before, immediately after treatment, and after completion of the spa program (before discharge).

Results: The patients with ankle arthrosis, fibromyalgia and cervical disc herniation reported the highest VAS score before treatment program (P < 0.05). After the therapy program, VAS scores were seen to decrease compared to before treatment (P < 0.05). The patients with osteoarthritis of the hip (1.3+/-1.2) and soft tissue rheumatism (1.3+/-1.2) had the lowest VAS score before discharge compared to patients with other pathologies (P < 0.05). No statistically significant differences were detected between both sexes in terms of pain improvement (P > 0.05). On discharge, all hemodynamic responses decreased significantly compared to before and immediately after initiation of the therapy program (P < 0.01).

Conclusion: To decrease pain and high blood pressure without hemodynamic risk, a combined of spa and physical therapy program may help to decrease pain and improve hemodynamic response in patients with irreversible pathologies.

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis / therapy
  • Balneology*
  • Blood Pressure
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nervous System Diseases / therapy
  • Pain Management*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rheumatic Diseases / therapy