Comparing AquaStretch with supervised land based stretching for Chronic Lower Back Pain

J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2017 Apr;21(2):297-305. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2016.07.004. Epub 2016 Aug 11.


Objective: Chronic Lower Back Pain (CLBP) is a major health problem affecting 70-85% of the population in the UK. AquaStretch, a new form of assisted stretching in water, is compared with supervised land based stretching (LBS) for subjects with CLBP looking at pain reduction, kinesiophobia and disability.

Method: 29 subjects were randomly allocated into three groups, LBS (N = 10), AquaStretch (N = 10) and Control (N = 9). Modified Oswestry Low Back Pain Questionnaire (MOLBPQ) and Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia (TSK) questionnaires were completed in weeks 1, 6, and 12. Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) pain scores were collected weekly till week 12. Treatment groups received two 30 min sessions per week for 12 weeks, control group continued their normal physical activity.

Results & conclusion: Statistical significance (p < 0.05) was observed in the AquaStretch group for pain reduction (P = 0.006), kinesiophobia (P = 0.029), and perceived disability (P = 0.001). Both techniques are suggested to be beneficial for CLBP patients however AquaStretch has key additional benefits including time efficiency, cost effectiveness and the ability to be performed by qualified individuals other than physiotherapists. A reduction in pain post eight weeks of treatment using AquaStretch versus twelve weeks of land based stretching could result in potentially less treatment time needed and a possibility of less medication. Future research is recommended to determine the duration of AquaStretch benefits, and to compare AquaStretch with land based physical therapy programmes for CLBP and to research the potential reduction of Medication required for chronic pain conditions for both its relative clinical effectiveness together with potential health cost savings.

Keywords: AquaStretch; Aquatic therapy; Chronic pain; Kinesiophobia; Lower back pain; Perceived disability; Stretching exercises.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chronic Pain / psychology
  • Chronic Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / psychology
  • Low Back Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Stretching Exercises / methods*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Perception
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Water*


  • Water