Spa treatment for primary fibromyalgia syndrome: A combination of thalassotherapy, exercise and patient education improves symptoms and quality of life

T.R. Zijlstra*, M. A.F.J. van de Laar, H. J. Bernelot Moens, E. Taal, L. Zakraoui, J. J. Rasker

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    106 Citations (Scopus)
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    Abstract

    Objectives. To study the effect of a combination of thalassotherapy, exercise and patient education in people with fibromyalgia. Methods. Patients with fibromyalgia, selected from a rheumatology out-patient department and from members of the Dutch fibromyalgia patient association, were pre-randomized to receive either 2 1/2 weeks of treatment in a Tunisian spa resort, including thalassotherapy, supervised exercise and group education (active treatment) or treatment as usual (control treatment). Primary outcome measure was health-related quality of life, measured with the RAND-36 questionnaire. Secondary measures included the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, the McGill Pain Questionnaire, the Beck Depression Inventory, tender point score and a 6-min treadmill walk test. Results. Fifty-eight participants receiving the active treatment reported significant improvement on RAND-36 physical and mental component summary scales. For physical health, differences from the 76 controls were statistically significant after 3 months, but not after 6 and 12 months. A similar pattern of temporary improvement was seen in the self-reported secondary measures. Tender point scores and treadmill walk tests improved more after active treatment, but did not reach significant between-group differences, except for walk tests after 12 months. Conclusions. A combination of thalassotherapy, exercise and patient education may temporarily improve fibromyalgia symptoms and health-related quality of life.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)539-546
    Number of pages8
    JournalRheumatology
    Volume44
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2005

    Keywords

    • Exercise
    • Fibromyalgia
    • Health-related quality of life
    • Thalassotherapy

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