Effect of thermal water and adjunctive electrotherapy on chronic low back pain: A double-blind, randomized, follow-up study
Ágota Kulisch , Tamás Bender, András Németh, László Szekeres
Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of thermal mineral water, compared with tap water in the treatment of low back pain.
Methods: This randomized, double-blind, controlled, follow-up study included 71 patients who underwent 20-minute daily treatment sessions with medicinal water or with tap water, both at a temperature of 34°C, on 21 occasions. Both groups underwent additional adjunctive electrotherapy. Outcome measures were visual analogue scale scores, Schober's sign, Domján's signs, Oswestry disability and Short Form-36 questionnaire. The study parameters were administered at baseline, immediately after treatment, and after 15 weeks.
Results: After treatment, there was a significant improvement in all parameters in the thermal water group. This improvement was still evident after 15 weeks. The improvement in the control group was less substantial compared with baseline values. Comparison of the 2 treatments revealed a statistically significant difference in 3 outcome parameters (visual analogue scale scores III, IV and Schober's index). In the subset of patients who completed the study according to the protocol, the greater efficacy of treatment with thermal water was also confirmed by the other study parameters.
Conclusion: In the group treated with thermal water, improvement occurred earlier, lasted longer and was statistically significant.