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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Balneotherapy (or spa therapy) for rheumatoid arthritis

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, April 2015
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (95th percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (79th percentile)

Mentioned by

blogs
3 blogs
twitter
18 tweeters
facebook
3 Facebook pages
wikipedia
3 Wikipedia pages
q&a
1 Q&A thread

Citations

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48 Dimensions

Readers on

mendeley
228 Mendeley
Title
Balneotherapy (or spa therapy) for rheumatoid arthritis
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, April 2015
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd000518.pub2
Pubmed ID
Authors

Arianne P Verhagen, Sita MA Bierma-Zeinstra, Maarten Boers, Jefferson R Cardoso, Johan Lambeck, Rob de Bie, Henrica CW de Vet

Abstract

No cure for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is known at present, so treatment often focuses on management of symptoms such as pain, stiffness and mobility. Treatment options include pharmacological interventions, physical therapy treatments and balneotherapy. Balneotherapy is defined as bathing in natural mineral or thermal waters (e.g. mineral baths, sulphur baths, Dead Sea baths), using mudpacks or doing both. Despite its popularity, reported scientific evidence for the effectiveness or efficacy of balneotherapy is sparse. This review, which evaluates the effects of balneotherapy in patients with RA, is an update of a Cochrane review first published in 2003 and updated in 2008. To perform a systematic review on the benefits and harms of balneotherapy in patients with RA in terms of pain, improvement, disability, tender joints, swollen joints and adverse events. We searched the Cochrane 'Rehabilitation and Related Therapies' Field Register (to December 2014), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (2014, Issue 1), MEDLIINE (1950 to December 2014), EMBASE (1988 to December 2014), the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) (1982 to December 2014), the Allied and Complementary Medicine Database (AMED) (1985 to December 2014), PsycINFO (1806 to December 2014) and the Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro). We applied no language restrictions; however, studies not reported in English, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, German or French are awaiting assessment. We also searched the World Health Organization (WHO) International Clinical Trials Registry Platform for ongoing and recently completed trials. Studies were eligible if they were randomised controlled trials (RCTs) consisting of participants with definitive or classical RA as defined by the American Rheumatism Association (ARA) criteria of 1958, the ARA/American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria of 1988 or the ACR/European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) criteria of 2010, or by studies using the criteria of Steinbrocker.Balneotherapy had to be the intervention under study, and had to be compared with another intervention or with no intervention.The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International League Against Rheumatism (ILAR) determined in 1992 a core set of eight endpoints in clinical trials concerning patients with RA. We considered pain, improvement, disability, tender joints, swollen joints and adverse events among the main outcome measures. We excluded studies when only laboratory variables were reported as outcome measures. Two review authors independently selected trials, performed data extraction and assessed risk of bias. We resolved disagreements by consensus and, if necessary, by third party adjudication. This review includes two new studies and a total of nine studies involving 579 participants. Unfortunately, most studies showed an unclear risk of bias in most domains. Four out of nine studies did not contribute to the analysis, as they presented no data.One study involving 45 participants with hand RA compared mudpacks versus placebo. We found no statistically significant differences in terms of pain on a 0 to 100-mm visual analogue scale (VAS) (mean difference (MD) 0.50, 95% confidence interval (CI) -0.84 to 1.84), improvement (risk ratio (RR) 0.96, 95% CI 0.54 to 1.70) or number of swollen joints on a scale from 0 to 28 (MD 0.60, 95% CI -0.90 to 2.10) (very low level of evidence). We found a very low level of evidence of reduction in the number of tender joints on a scale from 0 to 28 (MD -4.60, 95% CI -8.72 to -0.48; 16% absolute difference). We reported no physical disability and presented no data on withdrawals due to adverse events or on serious adverse events.Two studies involving 194 participants with RA evaluated the effectiveness of additional radon in carbon dioxide baths. We found no statistically significant differences between groups for all outcomes at three-month follow-up (low to moderate level of evidence). We noted some benefit of additional radon at six months in terms of pain frequency (RR 0.6, 95% CI 0.4 to 0.9; 31% reduction; improvement in one or more points (categories) on a 4-point scale; moderate level of evidence) and 9.6% reduction in pain intensity on a 0 to 100-mm VAS (MD 9.6 mm, 95% CI 1.6 to 17.6; moderate level of evidence). We also observed some benefit in one study including 60 participants in terms of improvement in one or more categories based on a 4-point scale (RR 2.3, 95% CI 1.1 to 4.7; 30% absolute difference; low level of evidence). Study authors did not report physical disability, tender joints, swollen joints, withdrawals due to adverse events or serious adverse events.One study involving 148 participants with RA compared balneotherapy (seated immersion) versus hydrotherapy (exercises in water), land exercises or relaxation therapy. We found no statistically significant differences in pain on the McGill Questionnaire or in physical disability (very low level of evidence) between balneotherapy and the other interventions. No data on improvement, tender joints, swollen joints, withdrawals due to adverse events or serious adverse events were presented.One study involving 57 participants with RA evaluated the effectiveness of mineral baths (balneotherapy) versus Cyclosporin A. We found no statistically significant differences in pain intensity on a 0 to 100-mm VAS (MD 9.64, 95% CI -1.66 to 20.94; low level of evidence) at 8 weeks (absolute difference 10%). We found some benefit of balneotherapy in overall improvement on a 5-point scale at eight weeks of 54% (RR 2.35, 95% CI 1.44 to 3.83). We found no statistically significant differences (low level of evidence) in the number of swollen joints, but some benefit of Cyclosporin A in the number of tender joints (MD 8.9, 95% CI 3.8 to 14; very low level of evidence). Physical disability, withdrawals due to adverse events and serious adverse events were not reported. Overall evidence is insufficient to show that balneotherapy is more effective than no treatment, that one type of bath is more effective than another or that one type of bath is more effective than mudpacks, exercise or relaxation therapy.

Twitter Demographics

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 228 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United Kingdom 1 <1%
Spain 1 <1%
Sri Lanka 1 <1%
Unknown 225 99%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 47 21%
Student > Bachelor 30 13%
Student > Ph. D. Student 22 10%
Researcher 17 7%
Other 13 6%
Other 45 20%
Unknown 54 24%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 71 31%
Nursing and Health Professions 32 14%
Psychology 11 5%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 7 3%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 5 2%
Other 35 15%
Unknown 67 29%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 40. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 13 December 2020.
All research outputs
#623,293
of 17,349,416 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
#1,566
of 11,660 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#10,611
of 233,713 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
#48
of 234 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 17,349,416 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 96th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 11,660 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 24.9. This one has done well, scoring higher than 86% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 233,713 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 95% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 234 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done well, scoring higher than 79% of its contemporaries.