To determine the effects of a two-month intensive aquatic therapy programme on back pain, disability, quality of life, body composition and health-related fitness in sedentary adults with chronic low back pain.
Controlled clinical trial.
Forty-nine sedentary patients with chronic low back pain.
Patients were allocated into active group (n = 24, two months, five times/week) or waiting list, control group (n = 25) according to space on the programme.
Outcomes variables were pain (visual analogue scale), disability (Oswestry Disability Index), quality of life (Quality Short-Form Health Survey 36), body composition (weight, body mass index, body fat percentage and skeletal muscle mass) and health-related fitness (sit-and-reach, handgrip strength, curl-up, Rockport 1-mile test).
The active group significantly improved low back pain (-3.83 ± 0.35 mm on the visual analogue scale ), disability (-12.7 ± 1.3 points for the Oswestry Disability Index) and the standardized physical component (10.3 ± 1.4 points for the Quality Short-Form Health Survey 36) of quality-of-life domains (P < 0.001), with no significant changes on the standardized mental component (P = 0.114). In relation to body composition and fitness, the active group showed significant improvements (all P-values < 0.01). The control group presented no significant change in any parameter.
A two-month intensive aquatic therapy programme of high-frequency (five times/week) decreases levels of back pain and disability, increases quality of life, and improves body composition and health-related fitness in sedentary adults with chronic low back pain.