A group of Australian physiotherapists have launched an online pain management training and exercise program for people suffering from chronic knee pain. Participants in the pilot study noted marked improvements in joint function and pain reduction for at least six months.
Knee pain and Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is the leading cause of knee pain, affecting one in four adults and is a major factor in disability. Osteoarthritis of the knee causes loss of joint function and reduces the quality of life of those who suffer from it. Rising life expectancy and obesity rates are increasing the number of patients worldwide, making the disease a major public health problem.
Health authorities are calling for an approach to the disease that doesw not rely solely on drugs or surgery, but encourages patient self-management through pain management education programs and physical exercise routines. Unfortunately, say the authors of the study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, it is difficult for specialists to supervise these programs, especially if patients live in rural or remote areas. That is why the Internet may become the appropriate tool to reach all patients with these programs.
Online training program
The program, called PainCOACH, is based on seven video conferences with a physiotherapist for a series of exercises and a specific pain management program lasting three months. The trial was conducted with 148 people over the age of 50 with chronic knee pain living in urban and rural areas of Australia.
According to the researchers, this online intervention offers a safe alternative to the face-to-face follow up of such programs. The multidisciplinary team of researchers including physiotherapists and physicians is currently working to make the PainCOACH program freely available on the Internet.
If you want to know more about this study:
Bennell KL, Nelligan R, Dobson F, Rini C, Keefe F, Kasza J, French S, Bryant C, Dalwood A, Abbott JH, Hinman RS. Effectiveness of an Internet-Delivered Exercise and Pain-Coping Skills Training Intervention for Persons With Chronic Knee Pain: A Randomized Trial. Ann Intern Med. 2017 Feb 21. doi: 10.7326/M16-1714
painCOACH project http://sph.unc.edu/global-health/ggg-paincoach-project/