Pérez-de la Cruz (2020) Comparison of Aquatic Therapy vs. Dry Land Therapy to Improve Mobility of Chronic Stroke Patients


One of the most serious and disabling problems of stroke is pain and a decrease in balance, with the consequent increased risk of falls. The aim of the randomized controlled trial study was to compare the efficacy of three different treatment proposals to improve pain, gait, and balance in chronic stroke patients. Forty patients diagnosed with stroke were divided into three groups: the dry-land therapy group (control group) received sessions that included walking exercises and trunk mobility. The experimental group received Ai Chi aquatic therapy, and the combined group received alternating dry-land therapy sessions and Ai Chi aquatic therapy. The measurement instruments used were: the Tinetti balance and gait scale, the visual analog scale (VAS), 360 ◦ turn, single leg stance, and the 30-s stand test (CS-30). After twelve weeks of treatment, the results were significantly better for the combined therapy group and the experimental group compared to the dry-land therapy group (p < 0.01) in the VAS scale, CS-30, and 360 ◦ turn, although improvements were also found in the evaluations carried out in the aquatic therapy group. In total, for the Tinetti scale and single-leg stance, the differences between the groups were evident, although not statistically significant ( p = 0.001 ). Aquatic therapy with Ai Chi and the combination of aquatic therapy with dry-land therapy was effective in improving pain, balance, and gait in patients with chronic stroke, thus improving their functional capacity and quality of life.

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