Patients with neuromuscular diseases benefit from treatment in a warm climate.
OBJECTIVE: Several studies have shown positive effects of treatment of chronic diseases in a warm climate. The aim of this study was to evaluate the long-term effect of a 4-week rehabilitation programme in a warm climate for patients with neuromuscular diseases. DESIGN: A randomized controlled trial with a cross-over design. One period of intervention and one period of "life as usual". PATIENTS: A total of 60 persons with a neuromuscular diagnosis. METHODS: Long-term effects were defined as changes in physical and psychological functions persisting after 3 months. Several scales were used according to the World Health Organization's classification of functioning. RESULTS: A comparison of the changes in the 2 periods showed significantly better results for all primary outcome scales in favour of the intervention. Mean difference in changes in pain (VAS scale), 6-min walking test and "timed up and go" were 9.0 (SD 28.8) units, 52 (75) m and 1.0 (2.3) sec, p = 0, 03, < 0.01 and 0.01, respectively. Median difference in changes in "Fatigue Severity Scale" and "Life Satisfaction Scale" were 0.4 (-0.5, 1.7) and 0.0 (0.0, 1.0), p = < 0.01 and 0.01, respectively. CONCLUSION: This study shows positive long-term effects on different dimensions of health after a 4-week rehabilitation programme in a warm climate for patients with neuromuscular diseases. This effect might be due to the programme, the warm climate, or a combination of both.
PMID: 17724555 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]