Spa Therapy for the Treatment of Fibromyalgia: An Open, Randomized Multicenter Trial

J Pain. 2021 Aug;22(8):940-951. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2021.02.010. Epub 2021 Mar 4.


Fibromyalgia is a common chronic pain pathology with an incidence of 4.3 per 1,000 person-years. An open, randomized clinical trial of patients with fibromyalgia comparing an immediate vs. delayed 18-day spa therapy in five spa therapy care facilities in France enrolled 220 patients. Randomization was in blocks of four, stratified by center, severity of fibromyalgia and previous spa therapy. Patients continued usual treatment. The main endpoint was the number of patients achieving minimal clinically important difference at 6 months, defined as 14% change in their baseline fibromyalgia impact questionnaire score. The intention-to-treat analysis included 100 and 106 patients in the intervention and control groups, respectively. At 6 months, 45/100 (45.0%) and 30/106 (28.3%) patients in the intervention and control groups, respectively, achieved a minimal clinically important difference (P= .013). There was also a significant improvement in pain, fatigue, and symptom severity (secondary outcomes) in the intervention group but not for generic quality of life (QOL), sleep or physical activity. None of the 33 serious adverse events reported by 25 patients were related to the spa therapy. Our results demonstrate the benefit of spa treatment in patients with fibromyalgia. PERSPECTIVE: A 12-month, open, randomized clinical trial of 220 patients with fibromyalgia compared an immediate versus delayed (ie, after 6 months) 18-day spa therapy. The results showed a clinically significant improvement at 6 months for those who received immediate therapy which was maintained up to 12 months. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT02265029.

Keywords: Fibromyalgia; pain measurement; patient satisfaction; spa treatment; treatment outcome.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Hydrotherapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data