The purpose of this thesis is to provide a critical analysis of research findings about hydrotherapy as a means of reducing chronic pain used independently of opioids. Chronic pain is often treated with analgesics of varying potency, some with serious adverse side effects if used over a long period of time. Exploring the effectiveness of therapies other than medication to treat chronic pain is important to decrease or eliminate the amount to pain medication taken for chronic pain. Hydrotherapy is one therapy that may improve the pain experience for those with chronic pain. A literature search was conducted using the key terms chronic pain and hydrotherapy with the Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature database. This search yielded 5 studies that met the inclusion criteria, which were: research from 2015 or newer, studied adults over the age of 18, used hydrotherapy to reduce chronic pain who were not also using opioids, peer-reviewed, and written in the English language. The 5 studies found specifically addressed the conditions of osteoarthritis of the knee, fibromyalgia, and chronic low-back pain. All studies indicated hydrotherapy reduced chronic pain in adults. Findings of this analysis of the literature supports the recommendation to use hydrotherapy to improve chronic pain. Further research in other conditions known to cause chronic pain is needed.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.)
College of Nursing
Medal, Emily S., "The Use of Hydrotherapy for Chronic Pain" (2019). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 588.