Knee Osteoarthritis Patients Often Rely on Self-Help

Many seek medical help but also make their own lifestyle changes, which improve pain, function
By Jane Parry
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, March 31 (HealthDay News) -- Most patients newly diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis seek medical care, but they also institute lifestyle changes -- often without a physician's advice -- which improve their pain and function levels, according to a study in the April issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

Kelly A. Grindrod, of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and colleagues conducted a study of 194 participants who took a screening survey. Most of the participants were female, Caucasian, overweight and had a mean age of 63 years, and none of them had a previous diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis. Further investigation confirmed that 190 had knee osteoarthritis. The subjects' use of health services, and their health-related quality of life were surveyed at baseline and after one, three and six months.

At the six-month mark, 90 percent of the participants had consulted their family physician regarding their knee osteoarthritis, and more than half were using prescription or non-prescription analgesic medication, the researchers found. Three-quarters had taken up exercise, while activity aids and natural medicines were each being used by a third of the participants. The authors note that all participants experienced improvements in pain and function levels due to the lifestyles interventions.

"Within six months of receiving a diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis, participants made several lifestyle interventions, often without the advice of a health professional, and saw improvements in their pain and function," the authors write.

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