Peng (2022) Efficacy of Therapeutic Aquatic Exercise vs Physical Therapy Modalities for Patients With Chronic Low Back Pain

Summary: Aquatic Therapy for Chronic Low Back Pain: A Comparative Analysis

Aquatic Exercise vs. Physical Therapy

This study, led by Peng and colleagues, investigated the efficacy of therapeutic aquatic exercise compared to standard physical therapy modalities in managing chronic low back pain. Conducted as a randomized clinical trial, it included 113 participants who were divided into two groups: one receiving aquatic therapy and the other physical therapy.

Trial Design and Methodology

Participants underwent interventions for 60 minutes twice a week, over a span of 3 months. The primary outcome measured was the level of disability, gauged by the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire. Secondary outcomes included assessments of pain intensity, quality of life, and sleep quality.


The results revealed a more significant reduction in disability levels in the aquatic therapy group compared to the physical therapy group. This reduction was noted not only after the 3-month intervention but persisted during the 6-month and 12-month follow-ups. In terms of pain relief, participants in the aquatic exercise group experienced more significant improvements in pain intensity. They also showed greater improvements in sleep quality and quality of life.


Aquatic exercise demonstrated greater long-term benefits in alleviating disability and pain for patients with chronic low back pain than traditional physical therapy methods. The study suggests that aquatic therapy could be an effective treatment strategy for managing chronic low back pain.

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