Sleep Breath. 2023 Oct 17. doi: 10.1007/s11325-023-02933-x. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of aquatic therapy on pain, sleep quality, psychological symptoms, quality of life, and health status in people diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
METHODS: We searched PubMed, CINAHL, The Cochrane Library, PEDro and Scopus databases. Articles were eligible if they were randomised controlled trials (RCTs) analysing the effects of aquatic therapy in adult people diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and published by October of 2022 in English or Spanish. The Cochrane Risk of Bias tool was employed to conduct the methodological quality assessment of the encompassed studies, and the overall quality of evidence for each comparison was determined using the GRADE approach.
RESULTS: Of 375 articles found, 22 met the inclusion criteria. Forest plot analysis of Pittsburgh sleep quality index at short- and mid-term follow-up showed a trend in favour of aquatic therapy, although not statistically significant, with weighted mean difference (WMD) = -1.71 (95% CI: -4.17 to -0.75, p = 0.17). Heterogeneity was substantial (χ2 = 8.74, df = 5 (p < 0.000001; I2 = 95%). Relating the pain outcome by fibromyalgia impact questionnaire (FIQ) short term showed a trend in favour of the aquatic therapy group with WMD = -5.04 (95% CI: – 9.26 to – 0.82, p = = 0.02) with heterogeneity χ2 = 11.07, df = 4 (p = 0.03; I2 = 64%). Great heterogeneity was found between trials in medium term.
CONCLUSION: This systematic review and meta-analysis demonstrated the effectiveness of aquatic therapy as an adjunct treatment to usual care in people suffering from fibromyalgia. Aquatic therapeutic exercise improves the symptomats of sleep quality, pain, and quality of life of adults with fibromyalgia. Further research on long-term outcomes may contribute to the currently available evidence.