Nguyen (1997) prolonged effects of 3 week therapy in a spa resort on lumbar spine, knee and hip osteoarthritis: follow-up after 6 months. a randomized controlled trial

Introduction to Spa Therapy in Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA), a prevalent and diverse ailment, often prompts patients to seek various treatments, including spa therapy, to alleviate symptoms. Despite its widespread use, the efficacy of spa therapy in managing OA, specifically in the lumbar spine, knees, and hips, warrants thorough evaluation. This study, conducted in 1993, aimed to assess the sustained impact of a 3-week spa therapy regimen on OA patients, examining pain, functional impairment, quality of life, and medication consumption over a 6-month follow-up period.

Methodology and Participant Profile

A randomized controlled trial was executed with 188 OA patients, divided into spa and control groups. The spa group underwent a 21-day therapy at Vichy, France, involving rest, balneotherapy, and medical attention, while the control group continued their usual out-patient care. Assessments were conducted using visual analogue scales for pain, Lequesne’s index for hip/knee OA, Main and Waddell’s index for lumbar spine OA, and the revised Arthritis Impact Measurement Scale (AIMS2) for quality of life. Medication consumption was also monitored.

Results Highlighting Spa Therapy’s Efficacy

The study unveiled significant improvements in the spa group regarding pain reduction, functional enhancement, and quality of life elevation, coupled with a decreased need for NSAIDs and analgesics. These benefits persisted throughout the 6-month follow-up, suggesting a lasting symptomatic relief attributed to the spa therapy.

Discussion on Spa Therapy’s Role in OA Management

The findings underscore the potential of a 3-week spa therapy program in ameliorating OA symptoms and reducing reliance on symptomatic medications. This study aligns with previous research advocating spa therapy’s short- and mid-term advantages for OA patients, emphasizing its role in comprehensive OA management strategies.

Keywords: Spa therapy, Controlled trial, Osteoarthritis.

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