Objectives: The aim of the present study was to evaluate
the effects of 3 weeks of individualized aerobic exercise
training combined with conventional spa therapy on patients’
assessment of chronic pain and quality of life. Patients
and Methods: 44 patients of either sex and advanced
age (50-70 years) with chronic pain underwent
an inpatient spa therapy in Bad Tatzmannsdorf, Austria.
Participants were randomized into 2 groups, a control
group receiving spa therapy alone, and a training group
carrying out an additional aerobic training. Every participant
performed an exhaustive bicycle exercise test at the
beginning of the study. Subsequently, participants of the
training group performed individualized training programs,
controlled and documented by ambulatory heart
rate monitors. At the beginning and the end of the study
the following outcome measures were assessed by use
of questionnaires: positive and negative mood, general
depression, health satisfaction, general pain, exhaustion,
abdominal complaints, and cardiac pain. The results of
the questionnaires were analyzed by use of a MANOVA
to evaluate differences between the two groups. Results:
We observed positive effects in all participants and on all
parameters investigated after 3 weeks of spa therapy.
However, no significant differences could be demonstrated
between the two groups (all p > 0.05). Conclusion: Individualized
aerobic training does not seem to enhance
beneficial effects of a 3-week spa therapy on chronic pain
and quality of life.
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