Efficacy of rehabilitation for patients with ankylosing spondylitis: comparison of a four-week rehabilitation programme in a Mediterranean and a Norwegian setting

J Rehabil Med. 2011 May;43(6):534-42. doi: 10.2340/16501977-0804.


Objective: To investigate the sustained effect of a rehabilitation programme for patients with ankylosing spondylitis, and to compare the effect of this intervention given in a Mediterranean vs a Norwegian setting.

Methods: A total of 107 patients with ankylosing spondylitis applying for rehabilitation were randomized to a 4-week inpatient rehabilitation programme in a Mediterranean country or in Norway. The participants were evaluated clinically before and after the rehabilitation period (week 0 and 4) and in week 16. The ASsessments in Ankylosing Spondylitis working group's Improvement Criteria (ASAS-IC), and tests of spinal mobility and physical capacity were used to measure treatment response.

Results: An ASAS20 improvement was still present at week 16 in 50% of the patients treated in a Mediterranean and 23% in a Norwegian centre (p = 0.006). The tests of spinal mobility, physical capacity, and almost all patient's assessments of health status (ASAS-IC components) were still improved at week 16 after therapy in both climatic settings. While the improvements in physical capacity were comparable, the spinal mobility and ASAS-IC components improved more, and improvements were sustained longer, after rehabilitation in a Mediterranean setting.

Conclusion: Patients with ankylosing spondylitis benefit from a 4-week rehabilitation programme in Norway, but even more so from a similar programme in a Mediterranean setting.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Climate
  • Climatotherapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Montenegro
  • Norway
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Program Evaluation
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / rehabilitation*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Turkey