This study aimed to determine the effects of balneotherapy on disease activity, functional status, metrology index, pulmonary function and quality of life in patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS).
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
The study included 28 patients (27 male and 1 female) diagnosed with AS according to modified New York criteria. The patients were treated with balneotherapy for 3 weeks (30 min/day, 5 days/week). The patients were evaluated using the global index, Bath ankylosing spondylitis disease activity index (BASDAI), disease functional index (BASFI), metrology index (BASMI), chest expansion measures, pulmonary function testing, and the medical outcomes study-short form-36 Health Survey (SF-36) (measure of quality of life) before balneotherapy and 1 month after treatment.
Post balneotherapy BASDAI and global index decreased, BASMI parameters improved, chest expansion increased, and some SF-36 parameters improved; however, none of these changes were statistically significant (P > 0.05), except for the decrease in BASMI total score (P < 0.05). Before balneotherapy 6 patients had restrictive pulmonary disorder, according to pulmonary function test results. Pulmonary function test results in 3 (50%) patients were normalized following balneotherapy; however, as for the other index, balneotherapy did not significantly affect pulmonary function test results.
The AS patients' symptoms, clinical findings, pulmonary function test results, and quality of life showed a trend to improve following balneotherapy, although without reaching significant differences. Comprehensive randomized controlled spa intervention studies with longer follow-up periods may be helpful in further delineating the therapeutic efficacy of balneotherapy in AS patients.