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Ann Rehabil Med. 2013 Aug;37(4):534-40. doi: 10.5535/arm.2013.37.4.534. Epub 2013 Aug 26.

Improvement in anxiety and pain after whole body whirlpool hydrotherapy among patients with myofascial pain syndrome.

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  • 1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Kwandong University College of Medicine, Goyang, Korea.



To evaluate the effect of the Whirlpool hydrotherapy on pain and anxiety in chronic myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) patients, compared to the conventional hydrocollator pack therapy.


Forty-one subjects who have MPS in the upper trapezius muscles without depression were recruited. The patients were randomly assigned into two groups: the whirlpool therapy group whose bodies were immersed in a whirlpool bath at 34℃-36℃ for 30 minutes; the hydrocollator group who took a 30-minute application of a standard hot hydrocollator pack. Patients in both groups received therapy three days a week for 2 weeks and underwent several evaluations at baseline and after treatment. The variables we analyzed during evaluations were as follows: the primary outcome we considered was pain severity using a visual analogue scale. And the secondary outcomes examined included anxiety using the Korean version of the Beck Anxiety Inventory and quality of life (QoL) using the Korean version of the World Health Organization QoL Assessment, Brief Form. All follow-up values were compared with the baseline values.


The baseline parameters did not show significant differences between two groups. And after 2-week treatment, both groups revealed significant improvement in anxiety levels and QoL, as well as in pain. However, the improvement on pain (p=0.002) and anxiety (p=0.010) was significantly greater in the whirlpool group, compared to the hydrocollator group.


The whirlpool hydrotherapy can be used as a more effective therapeutic method to reduce pain and anxiety in chronic MPS patients without depression.


Anxiety; Hydrotherapy; Myofascial pain syndromes

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