Neira (2017) Effectiveness of Aquatic Therapy vs Land-based Therapy for Balance and Pain in Women with Fibromyalgia a study protocol for a randomised controlled trial

This study protocol, authored by Sabela Rivas Neira and colleagues, outlines a randomized controlled trial aimed at comparing the effectiveness of aquatic therapy versus land-based therapy in improving balance and alleviating pain in women diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia, characterized by widespread pain and tenderness, significantly impacts patients’ quality of life and functional capacity. The study is set against the backdrop of increasing fibromyalgia incidence, highlighting the urgent need for effective management strategies.

The trial is designed as a single-blind study, with forty women with fibromyalgia randomly assigned to either aquatic therapy or land-based therapy groups. Both groups will undergo 60-minute therapy sessions, including warm-up, proprioceptive exercises, stretching, and relaxation, thrice weekly for three months. The primary outcomes assessed will be changes in balance (static and dynamic) and pain (intensity and threshold). Secondary outcomes will focus on functional balance, quality of life, sleep quality, fatigue, self-confidence in balance, and physical ability, measured at baseline, post-intervention, and six weeks post-treatment.

The study addresses a gap in current fibromyalgia research by focusing on balance issues, an area that has received limited attention despite its significance in the condition’s symptomatology. The trial’s findings could offer valuable insights into the comparative effectiveness of aquatic versus land-based therapies in managing fibromyalgia symptoms, particularly pain and balance disturbances. The study emphasizes the importance of physiotherapy interventions in fibromyalgia management, advocating for high-quality research to establish physiotherapy as a recommended treatment modality.

By elucidating the potential benefits of aquatic therapy in fibromyalgia care, the study could contribute to the development of more targeted and effective rehabilitation strategies, enhancing patient outcomes and quality of life. The rigorous methodological design and comprehensive outcome assessment underscore the trial’s potential to provide evidence-based guidance for clinicians and patients navigating fibromyalgia treatment options.

Keywords: Fibromyalgia, Physiotherapy, Pain, Postural Balance, Aquatic Therapy, Exercise

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