June 26, 2014

Study shows hydrotherapy may improve MS related pain

Spanish researchers investigated the effectiveness of an Ai-Chi aquatic exercise program against pain and other symptoms in a randomized controlled trial involving 71 people with MS and found that the hydrotherapy program significantly reduced pain levels in people with MS and improved fatigue, spasms, depression, and quality of life. [Adelaida María Castro-Sánchez, Guillermo A. Matarán-Peñarrocha, Inmaculada Lara-Palomo,Manuel Saavedra-Hernández, Manuel Arroyo-Morales, and Carmen Moreno-Lorenzo. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 473963, 8 pages.doi:10.1155/2012/473963]

Researchers in Grenada, Spain randomly assigned 35 people with MS to a 20-week experimental Ai-Chi exercise program in a swimming pool, and 36 people with MS to a 20-week control relaxation exercise group to determine the effectiveness of hydrotherapy to modify pain, quality of life, and other symptoms in people with MS. Both groups were evaluated before treatment, immediately following treatment and again at 4 and 10 weeks after the treatment. The Ai-Chi group showed a significant decrease in pain intensity versus pre-treatment levels up to and beyond the 10 week post-treatment mark. Significant improvements were also observed in spasm, fatigue, disability, and autonomy.

Ai Chi was created by combining Tai-Chi concepts with Shiatsu and QiGong techniques and is performed standing in shoulder depth water using a combination of deep breathing and slow, broad movements of the arms, legs, and torso.

According to the study, exercise is associated with an improvement in activity and walking mobility in people with MS. The study further suggests that exercise is associated with physical and psychological health benefits, including a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and cancer.

These findings suggest that an aquatic exercise program may improve pain, spasms, disability, fatigue, depression, and autonomy in people with MS.