The effects of weightbath traction hydrotherapy as a component of complex physical therapy in disorders of the cervical and lumbar spine: A controlled pilot study with follow-up

Mihály Oláh, Levente Molnár, József Dobai, Csaba Oláh, Judit Fehér, Tamás Bender

Research output: Article

21 Citations (Scopus)


The therapeutic modalities available for the conservative management of chronic cervical and lumbar pain include underwater traction, the usefulness of which is not universally acknowledged. No reports have been published on clinical trials evaluating underwater traction. This study was intended to ascertain any beneficial impact of weightbath therapy on the clinical parameters and quality of life of patients with cervical/lumbar discopathy. The study population comprised 72 subjects. Two groups of 18 patients each received underwater traction therapy of the cervical or lumbar spine with add-on McKenzie exercises and iontophoresis. The remaining two groups, treated with exercises and iontophoresis, served as controls. VAS and SF36 scores, range of motion were monitored to appraise therapeutic efficacy in cervical discopathy, whereas these parameters were supplemented by the Oswestry index in lumbar discopathy. A MRI scan was done at baseline and after 3 months of follow-up. Underwater cervical or lumbar traction therapy for discopathy achieved significant improvement of all study parameters, which was still evident 3 months later. Among the controls, significant improvement of just a single parameter was seen in patients with lumbar, and of two parameters in those with cervical discopathy. Underwater traction therapy effectively mitigates pain, enhances joint flexibility, and improves the quality of life of patients with cervical or lumbar discopathy. The equipment required to administer weightbath therapy is simple to install and treatment technique is straightforward.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749-756
Number of pages8
JournalRheumatology International
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - jún. 1 2008


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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