Additional therapeutic effect of balneotherapy in low back pain

South Med J. 2011 Aug;104(8):574-8. doi: 10.1097/SMJ.0b013e318224644f.


Objectives: Balneotherapy has been widely used for treatment of chronic low back pain recently. However there are only a few clinical controlled trials on balneotherapy. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effects of balneotherapy in patients with chronic low back pain.

Methods: Sixty patients with lumbar spondylosis were included in the study. In Group 1, patients received both balneotherapy and physiotherapy and in Group 2, patients received only physiotherapy for three weeks. The intensity of the pain was evaluated by Visual Analog Scale (VAS) and functional disability was scored according to Revised Oswestry Index (ROI). Spinal mobility was assessed by the Schober and lateral flexion tests. Variables were evaluated before and after the three weeks of treatment.

Results: The groups were comparable regarding age (P = 0.970) and sex (P = 0.357). There was no statistically significant difference between the two groups for baseline VAS (P = 0.838), Schober test (P = 0.226), and right (P = 0.642) and left (P = 0.674) lateral flexion measurements, and ROI scores (P = 0.798). At the end of the therapy, all clinical parameters significantly improved in patients in both of the groups (P < 0.05). VAS, Schober test, and ROI scores after the therapy were clearly superior in Group 1 in comparison to Group 2 (P < 0.05).

Conclusion: The results of the present study reiterate that besides conventional physiotherapy, balneotherapy may be effective in the treatment of patients with chronic low back pain.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Balneology*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperthermia, Induced
  • Low Back Pain / etiology
  • Low Back Pain / therapy*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Spondylosis / complications
  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonic Therapy