The purpose of this study is to clarify the effects of repeated thermal therapy in patients with chronic pain. Forty-six chronic pain patients were assigned to group A (multidisciplinary treatment, n=24) or group B (combination of multidisciplinary treatment and repeated thermal therapy, n = 22).
Thermal therapy was performed with 60 8C far-infrared ray dry sauna for 15 min and was then kept at bed rest with a blanket for 30 min once a day, 5 days a week for a total of 20 sessions. The number of pain behavior and anger score significantly decreased after treatment in both groups. After treatment, the number of pain behavior was slightly smaller (p=0.07) and anger score was significantly lower in group B than those in Group A ( p = 0.05).
Two years after treatment, 17 patients (77%) in group B returned to work compared with 12 patients (50%) in group A (pb0.05). These results suggest that a combination of multidisciplinary treatment and repeated thermal therapy may be a promising method for treatment of chronic pain.