To determine whether hydrotherapy in a thermomineral institution is superior to the same hydrotherapy in an ordinary hospital exercise-bath.
Controlled therapeutic trial.
The thermomineral institution at Arcen and the exercise bath at the Maasland Hospital in Sittard, the Netherlands.
PATIENTS AND METHODS:
46 patients with rheumatoid arthritis were treated in a by a skilled physiotherapist, according to a standardized exercise-scheme: 27 were treated in the thermomineral institution and 19 (control-group) in the hospital exercise-bath. Each patient received 12 treatments in 12 weeks. ENDPOINTS PARAMETERS: Morning stiffness, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, Ritchie index, amount of pain, answers to 11 questions concerning the activities of daily life, and psychosocial aspects of the disease. The various subjective and objective parameters were scored by the same physician.
Statistically significant improvement was observed in both groups concerning morning stiffness. Other subjective parameters improved, but did not reach significance. Objective parameters did not change significantly. Between-group differences were not found.
Hydrotherapy has a positive effect on some subjective but not on objective parameters in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, whether it is applied in a thermomineral institution or an ordinary hospital exercise bath.