Hot mineral baths boost osteoarthritis pain relief

  • Dilekçi E & al.
  • Int J Biometeorol
  • 31 Jul 2019

  • International Clinical Digest
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Takeaway

  • Patients aged >65 years with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee experience more relief from pain and stiffness after treatment with physical therapy (PT) plus hot mineral baths (balneotherapy [BT]) than from physical therapy alone.

Why this matters

  • OA treatment can include medications and nonpharmaceutical and surgical alternatives, but the evidence supporting many treatment alternatives is either insufficient or controversial.

Study design

  • Elderly patients with knee OA were randomly allocated to receive:
    • PT (n=146): local heat pack (45°C) for 20 minutes, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (80 Hz) for 30 minutes, therapeutic continuous ultrasound (1 MHz, intensity: 1.5 W/cm2) for 6 minutes; or
    • PT+BT (n=159): mineral water bath for 20 minutes (38-40°C) along with PT.
  • Funding: None.

Key results

  • Significant (P<.0001 interactions between the interventions and time were noted for: style="list-style-type:circle;">
  • pain (visual analog scale; VAS),
  • Western Ontario and McMaster Universities OA Index (pain, stiffness, physical function and total),
  • Euro-Qol (EQ)-5D-3L,
  • EQ-VAS,
  • Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Fatigue, and
  • Epworth Sleepiness scale.
  • On the basis of the OA Research Society International set of responder criteria for OA, responder rates in PT and PT+BT groups were 89.04% and 98.74%, respectively.
  • Limitations

    •  Lack of control group.

    Coauthored with Chitra Ravi, MPharm