A recent study conducted on 206 middle-aged people reveals that people suffering from pain and loss of function in their hips or knees showed significant improvement in their condition by combining their usual physical therapy with regular exercise.
”This study showed that benefits imparted by a comprehensive program of exercise therapy or manual therapy, provided by Physical Therapists, remain significant to at least two years follow-up,” says J. Haxby Abbott, a lead author on the study.
The average age of the group was 66 and the newfound health benefit was visible after a two year-period.
The study was made public on Saturday at the American College of Rheumatology during their annual meeting in Boston.
The team from New Zealand monitored the 206 patients over a two-year period of time and measured their progress using the Western Ontario and McMaster (WOMAC) OA index, which operates on a scale of 0-240, lowest being the best. The mean WOMAC score of the 206 patients was 100.8.
Participants have been subjects in physical performance tests including fast-paced walking. They were also X-rayed and their symptoms were strictly monitored. After 2 months, they were categorized as having either radiographic osteoarthritis (ROA) or symptomatic osteoarthritis (SOA).
Joint stiffness and pain is seldom associated with osteoarthritis (OA). Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis among older adults. In older people, the cartilage in the joints self-destructs in the course of time causing swelling and pain which impede the free movement of the joints.
The results of the study show that people who jogged on a regular basis displayed less OA than those who neglected this activity. Still, it is uncertain if people who practice this sport will be spared on the long-run from this pre-existing knee osteoarthritis condition.
Dr Grace Hsiao-Wei Lo, Rheumatologist and Epidemiologist in an American college of rheumatology, said in a public statement:
“This does not address the question of whether or not running is harmful to people who have pre-existing knee OA.”
However, Dr Hsiao- Wei Lo encourages people who do not yet have knee osteoarthritis not to restrict „participation in habitual running at any time in life”, since „it does not appear to be harmful to the knee joint”.
Another important finding from the new study was that the most commonly used dietary supplements for treating the condition, glucosamine and chondroitin, do not significantly relieve the pain and stiffness associated with knee osteoarthritis (OA). These supplements do not alter disease progression in any way either.
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