Effectiveness of spa therapy for patients with chronic low back pain: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis.
Medicine (Baltimore). 2019 Sep ;98(37):e17092. PMID: 31517832
BACKGROUND: Low back pain (LBP) is a major health problem around the world. Two previous meta-analyses showed that the spa therapy has a positive effect on reducing pain among patients with LBP based on studies published before 2006 and studies published between 2006 and 2013. In recent years, more studies reported the effect of spa therapy on treating chronic low back pain (CLBP). Our study aimed to update the meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) about the effect of spa therapy on treating CLBP and to examine the effect of spa therapy based on different interventions.
METHODS: PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library were searched until May 2018 to identify RCTs about spa therapy among patients with CLBP. Summary effect estimates were calculated by using a random-effects model. The quality of each eligible study was evaluated by Jadad checklist.
RESULTS: Twelve studies met the inclusion criteria for the systematic review and were included in meta-analysis. There was a significant decrease in pain based on visual analogue scale (VAS) (mean difference [MD] 16.07, 95% confidence interval [CI] [9.57, 22.57], P < .00001, I = 88%, n = 966), and lumbar spine function in Oswestry disability index (ODI) (MD 7.12, 95% CI [3.77, 10.47], P < .00001, I = 87%, n = 468) comparing spa therapy group to control group. Methodological assessment for included studies showed that the study's quality is associated with lacking blinding.
CONCLUSION: This updated meta-analysis confirmed that spa therapy can benefit pain reliving and improve lumbar spine function among patients with CLBP. Physiotherapy of subgroup analysis indicated that it can improve lumbar spine function. However, these conclusions should be treated with caution due to limited studies. More high-quality RCTs with double-blind design, larger sample size, and longer follow-up should be employed to improve the validity of study results.