Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has both joint and extra-joint manifestations and may directly affect patients' quality of life. Hydrotherapy is a very useful resource for treating RA due the water physical properties and physiological effects. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of a hydrotherapy program on RA female patients' symptoms and health-related quality of life. Eight volunteers, aged 56,4±5.2 years old, were selected for this study, all with RA diagnosis. Before and after treatment they were submitted to a physical therapy evaluation that included application of the Short Form-36 Questionnaire (SF-36) and assessment of pain, morning stiffness, and quality of sleep, by means of visual analogue scales. The treatment consisted of ten 45-minute hydrotherapy sessions, held twice a week. Collected data were statistically analysed, and significance level set at p<0.05. At the end of treatment results showed significant decrease in pain (p=0.004) and morning stiffness (p=0.003), and improvement in quality of sleep (p=0.006). Also, significant improvement was detected in most SF-36 domains (p<0.05). The proposed aquatic therapy program may be thus said to having improved health-related quality of life, reduced pain and morning stiffness, and improved quality of sleep of women with RA.
Arthritis, rheumatoid; Hydrotherapy; Quality of life