Background: Balneotherapy is an established treatment modality for musculoskeletal disease, but few studies have examined the efficacy of spa therapy in elderly patients with degenerative spine and joint diseases.
Objectives: To assess the effects of balneotherapy on chronic musculoskeletal pain, functional capacity, and quality of life in elderly patients with osteoarthritis of the knee or with chronic low back pain.
Methods: The 81 patients in the study group underwent a 1 day course of 30 minute daily baths in mineral water. Changes were evaluated in the following parameters: pain intensity, functional capacity, quality of life, use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory or analgesic drugs, subjective disease severity perceived by the patients, investigator-rated disease severity, and severity of pain perceived by the patients. We analyzed the results of 76 subjects as 5 did not complete the study.
Results: Compared to baseline, all monitored parameters were significantly improved by balneotherapy in both investigated groups. Moreover, the favorable effect was prolonged for 3 months after treatment.
Conclusions: This study showed that balneotherapy is an effective treatment modality in elderly patients with osteoarthritis of the knee or with chronic low back pain, and its benefits last for at least 3 months after treatment.