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Can Spa Therapy Get Patients Back to Work?

January 5, 2018
Subjects with chronic low back pain participated in a 12-month spa and exercise trial to determine the program's effect on pain and their ability to return to work.

A PPM Brief 

In a proof-of-concept pilot study published in Scientific Reports by Nguyen et al in late December 2017, patients experiencing subacute and chronic low back pain aiming to return to work after a 4- to 24-week sick leave period were enrolled in a 12-month randomized, controlled trial. The researchers’ aim was to determine whether a 5-day intensive inpatient spa/exercise therapy and educational program might be more effective than standard of care on the rate of patients returning to work.

Specifically, the authors examined the effect of morning spa therapy with a trained technician (including back/joint movements and stretching), combined with afternoon exercise therapy and patient education (eg, how to relax, self-manage pain, rest, etc) on patients’ return to work and reported pain scale ratings.

There was no significant difference reported between the two groups (standard of care, spa therapy) in either primary (return to work at one year) or secondary outcomes (lower back pain, number of sick leave days taken after return to work). The authors proposed that a larger sample be conducted to reach more conclusive data. Further research into a multimodal approach to rehabilitation that includes spa therapy was suggested.

Last updated on: January 5, 2018
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