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Eur J Intern Med. 2004 Apr;15(2):93-96.

The effect of balneotherapy on osteoarthritis. Is an intermittent regimen effective?

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Department of Medicine 'B', Asaf-Harofe Medical Center, Zerifin, Israel.



Balneotherapy is used as a treatment modality for various musculoskeletal disorders. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of intermittent balneotherapy in patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA).


Seventy-two patients with knee OA were included in the study. Patients were divided into two groups: group A (48 patients) was given intermittent once weekly treatment for 6 weeks; group B (24 patients) served as a control group. Evaluation was done prior to study entry, at weeks 4 and 6, and 4 weeks following completion of treatment (week 10). Assessment included global pain score (VAS), WOMAC index, Lequesne's functional index, patients' and physician's disease severity score, and NSAID/analgesic consumption.


Following balneotherapy, a statistically significant improvement, determined by the reduction in the mean changes of most outcome parameters (VAS, WOMAC, and Lequesne's index), was noted in group A at weeks 4 and 6 and was sustained 4 weeks after cessation of treatment (week 10). Significant improvement in both physician's and patients' disease severity scores, as well as a reduction in analgesic and NSAID consumption, were also noted in group A. No improvement was found in the control group in any of the tested parameters.


Intermittent balneotherapy appears to be effective in the treatment of knee OA.


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