‘Try physiotherapy rather than knee surgery for osteoarthritis’

September 13th, 2008 - 2:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Sep 13 (IANS) Physiotherapy can be an effective non-surgical option for those suffering from osteoarthritis, according to a new study. Physical therapy, combined with comprehensive medical management, was found to be just as effective at relieving the pain and stiffness of moderate to severe osteoarthritis of the knee as surgery.

“This study offers hope and encouragement to persons with osteoarthritis who would like to avoid the pain and emotional toll of surgery,” said American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) president R. Scott Ward.

“Too often, the first line of defence is surgery when it need not always be. Physical therapy can be equally effective and should be considered by not only patients themselves, but also the primary care doctors and orthopaedists who are treating them.”

Christopher M. Powers, co-director of Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Research Lab at the University of Southern California, said: “Many times knee pain is associated with abnormal movement patterns that cause increased stress on the joint.

“Arthroscopic surgery does little to correct the dynamic factors that may be contributing to knee pain and pathology. These findings reinforce the need for a comprehensive treatment approach for such patients.”

The study adds to a growing body of evidence supporting physiotherapy for treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee. For example, a series of exercises designed to help improve motion. Activities in this phase might include water walking, swimming, and flexibility exercises.

APTA (www.apta.org) is a national organisation representing physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students nationwide.

The study was published in the Thursday issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

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