The effect of balneotherapy on chronic shoulder pain. A randomized, controlled, single-blind follow-up trial

In this single-blind, randomized, follow-up study involving 46 patients with chronic shoulder pain, one group of patients was administered physiotherapy-exercise and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation-and the other group received balneotherapy in addition to physiotherapy for 4 weeks on 15 occasions. The following parameters were recorded prior to treatment (at week 0) and after treatment (at weeks 4, 7, and 13): Shoulder Pain and Disability Index (SPADI), the Short Form (36) Health Survey (SF-36) and EuroQuol-5D (EQ-5D) quality of life questionnaires, pain at rest and on movement on the visual analog scale (VAS), and active and passive range of motion. The SPADI pain, function, and total scores and the VAS scores at rest and on movement significantly improved in both groups following treatments. A greater improvement was seen in the balneotherapy group compared to the control group; regarding some parameters (VAS score on movement and SPADI function score at visit 2; VAS score at rest at visits 3 and 4), the difference between the groups was significant. The improvement of SF-36 and EQ-5D quality of life scores and the active range of motion was more pronounced in the balneotherapy group, the difference between the groups was not significant, except for EQ-5D at visit 2. Improvement of passive range of motion was not significant. Balneotherapy may have a beneficial effect on the clinical parameters and quality of life of patients with chronic shoulder pain. The number of patients should be increased.