Results of a recently published study suggest that physical therapy (PT) and balneotherapy (BT, or spa therapy) can improve sleep quality as well as reduce nocturnal pain in patients with knee osteoarthritis. The findings appear online in the Archives of Rheumatology. Common comorbidities in patients with knee OA include pain, sleep maintenance, and early morning awakenings, and these problems tend to increase with the severity of the condition. There are a variety of pharmacologic treatment approaches available, but the required duration of therapy and associated side effects of these medications contribute to the importance of conservative options including PT and BT in the treatment armamentarium.
Prior research has demonstrated the effectiveness of both BT and PT in reducing inflammation, a key goal in OA therapy, but there has been little study of the effects of these tools on sleep quality. In the current study, 199 patients with knee OA were assessed for sleep and functional status at baseline and after 19 sessions of BT and 15 sessions of BT. In addition to significant reduction in pain, the study recorded improvements in patients’ Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). The authors hypothesize that the observed improvements were mainly due to the thermal effect that both increases the extensibility of collagen rich tissues, and promotes the secretion of cortisol and catecholamines.
Read about how movement combats knee OA, here.
Read more about the findings here.
The journal abstract may be read here.