Munguia-Izquierdo (2008) Assessment of the effects of aquatic therapy

Introduction to Fibromyalgia and Aquatic Therapy

Fibromyalgia syndrome (FM) is a chronic condition characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances, and cognitive issues. Aquatic therapy, involving exercises in a warm-water pool, has been explored as a potential treatment to alleviate the symptoms of FM. This article delves into a study conducted by Diego Munguía-Izquierdo and Alejandro Legaz-Arrese, which assesses the impact of aquatic therapy on individuals with FM.

Study Design and Methodology

The study was structured as a randomized controlled trial, focusing on middle-aged women diagnosed with FM. Participants were divided into two groups: one undergoing a 16-week aquatic therapy program and a control group. The therapy included strength, aerobic, and relaxation exercises. The effectiveness of the therapy was evaluated based on various parameters, including tender point count, health status, sleep quality, physical and cognitive function, and exercise adherence.

Findings and Implications

The results revealed significant improvements in the aquatic therapy group in terms of tender point count, sleep quality, cognitive function, and physical fitness compared to the control group. Notably, there was no significant change in anxiety levels, suggesting the need for a more extended program or the inclusion of educational components for psychological benefits. The study also highlighted high adherence to the exercise program among participants, indicating the feasibility and acceptance of aquatic therapy as a long-term management strategy for FM.

Conclusion and Future Directions

Aquatic therapy has shown promise in improving the overall symptomatology of FM, with high participant adherence and no adverse effects. Further research is needed to explore the long-term benefits of aquatic therapy and its impact on various FM symptoms, considering the limitations such as the small sample size and the influence of seasonal changes on health status.

Keywords: Fibromyalgia, aquatic therapy, chronic pain, exercise adherence, randomized controlled trial.

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