Effectiveness of aquatic therapy in the treatment of Fibromyalgia – Source: Rheumatology International, Feb 16, 2008

The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of aquatic exercises in Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS).

A total of 63 patients were included and allocated to two groups. Group I (n = 33) received an aquatic exercise program and Group II (n = 30) received a home-based exercise program for 60 min, 3x a week, over 5 weeks.

Patients were evaluated for pain (visual analogue scale, VAS), number of tender points (NTP), Beck depression inventory (BDI), and functional capacity (fibromyalgia impact questionnaire, FIQ). All assessment parameters were measured at baseline, and at weeks 4, 12, and 24.

There were statistically significant differences in FIQ and NTP in both groups at the end and during follow-up (P < 0.05).

  • Group I [aquatic exercise program] showed a statistically significant decrease in BDI scores after 4 and 12 weeks (P < 0.05) that remained after 24 weeks (P < 0.001).
  • In Group II [home-based exercise program], a significant decrease in BDI scores was observed at the end and during follow-up (P < 0.001).
  • Also, a significant improvement was found in VAS at weeks 4 and 12 in both groups (P < 0.001).
  • The average of reduction in pain scores was 40% in Group1 and 21% in Group II. However, this was still significant at week 24 only in the aquatic therapy group.
  • A comparison of the two groups showed no statistically significant difference for FIQ, NTP, and BDI scores except VAS (P < 0.001).

Our results showed that both aquatic therapy and home-based exercise programs have beneficial effects on FIQ, BDI, and NTP. In pain management, only aquatic therapy seems to have long-term effects.

Source: Rheumatology International. 2008 Feb 16 [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 18278501, byEvcik D, Yigit I, Pusak H, Kavuncu V. Department of Physical Rehabilitation Medicine, Ufuk University, Mevlana bulvarý, No: 8688, 06520, Ankara, Turkey, [E-mail: D Evcik evcikd@yahoo.com]

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One thought on “Effectiveness of aquatic therapy in the treatment of Fibromyalgia – Source: Rheumatology International, Feb 16, 2008”

  1. ctcwriter says:

    I have 20 years of history with FMS and CFS. I’m now really healthy. Part of the process of getting there was my initial introduction to warm water therapy-type work. Dr. Charles Lapp first told me about it and I investigated it for myself. Both in an organized class and on my own, I benefitted from water work. Today, even though I’m much healthier, I stretch, I work out, I even dance sometimes in the water. Some days… it’s my play/ escape time! No matter how you move in the water, it’s usually safe. If you doubt your ability, get a floatation belt to wear. The benefits of doing warm water work outnumber the reasons not to– hands down.

    In responding to the facts from this study, I’m not surprised that the results demonstrated an improvement in individual “mood” scores. I am surprised that it did not show a general overall improvement in health. I found warm water work to be quite beneficial and so do a lot of other people that I know.

    It you want to try it out, start slowly if you’ve been really sick and inactive. (I started out at 5 minutes a day! I got more exercise driving to the facility and taking my clothes off and on. I stuck with it, though, and soon I could do the majority of the class.)

    Gradually build up your endurance and your time in the pool. Concentrate on safely stretching, but please don’t overdo. Don’t overestimate your ability to “keep on going.” Learn to listen to your body in the water just like you do on land. You might even consider getting private instruction or joining an aquatic arthritis class. They are less expensive, slow-paced and are geared to older, more sedentary members. Plus, the instructors usually are skilled in looking after a class member if he or she begins to get into trouble.

    Go slow, build up gradually, but get moving. It’s easier in the water!

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