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Dry sauna therapy is beneficial for patients with low back pain
Anesth Pain Med 2019;14(4):474-9
Published online October 31, 2019
© 2019 Korean Society of Neuroscience in Anesthesiology and Critical Care.

Eun-Hee Cho1 , Nam-Hun Kim2 , Hyoung-Chun Kim3 , Yun-Ho Yang4 , Juyoun Kim4 , and Byeongmun Hwang4
1Department of Internal Medicine, Kangwon National University Hospital, Kangwon National University School of Medicine, 2College of Forest and Environmental Sciences, Kangwon National University, 3Neuropsychopharmacology and Toxicology Program, College of Pharmacy, Kangwon National University, 4Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Kangwon National University Hospital, Kangwon National University School of Medicine, Chuncheon, Korea
Correspondence to: Byeongmun Hwang, M.D., Ph.D. Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Kangwon National University Hospital, Kangwon National University School of Medicine, 1 Gangwondaehak-gil, Chuncheon 24341, Korea Tel: 82-33-258-2238 Fax: 82-33-258-2271 E-mail: arim14@kangwon.ac.kr
ORCID https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2795-0538
Received February 26, 2019; Revised April 8, 2019; Accepted April 11, 2019.
cc This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract
Background: Dry sauna has been very popular as an alternative therapy for promoting health among people who want to improve their health condition without relying on pharmaceuticals. The aim of this study was to investigate whether dry sauna therapy improved quality of life and reduced pain in participants with low back pain.
Methods: Study participants comprised a total of 37 consecutive patients who were over 20 years of age with low back pain. Dry sauna therapy was performed twice per day for 5 consecutive days over the course of 1 week, thus comprising a total of 10 sessions each of 15 min of exposure to a 90°C dry sauna.
Results: The verbal numerical rating scale (VNRS) and Oswestry disability index (ODI) scores were significantly reduced after dry sauna therapy (P < 0.001 for both). VNRS pain scores had a median (range) of 5 (2–8) before dry sauna therapy and 3 (0–8) after dry sauna therapy. ODI scores had a median (range) of 12 (2–24) before dry sauna therapy and 8 (1–17) after dry sauna therapy. The proportion of participants who reported successful treatment (excellent + good) was 70%. No adverse effects were observed related to dry sauna therapy.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that dry sauna therapy may be useful to improve quality of life and reduce pain in patients with low back pain. Therefore, pain physicians can recommend dry sauna therapy as an alternative and complimentary therapy for patients with low back pain.
Key Words : Low back pain; Pain; Quality of life; Steam bath.


October 2019, 14 (4)
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Funding Information
  • Korea Forest Service Grant
     
      S111616L040110
  • National Research Foundation of Korea
      10.13039/501100003725
      NRF-2017R1D1A1B03035527