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Massage Therapy May Relieve Pain of Knee Osteoarthritis

Swedish massage induces more flexibility and less pain

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Swedish massage can effectively reduce pain and increase flexibility in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee, according to a report published in the Dec. 11/25 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

David L. Katz, M.D., M.P.H., of the Yale Prevention Research Center of Yale University School of Medicine in Derby, Conn., and colleagues conducted a study of 68 adults with osteoarthritis who were randomized to receive either twice-weekly sessions of Swedish massage for four weeks followed by once-weekly sessions for four weeks, or to a control group with delayed intervention.

Scores for pain, stiffness and physical function all improved significantly in the massage group, according to scores on the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index. The visual analog scale of pain assessment, range of motion in degrees, and time to walk 50 feet in seconds were also improved. The results remained consistent even when demographic factors were taken into account.

"Massage therapy seems to be efficacious in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee," the authors conclude. "Further study of cost effectiveness and duration of treatment effect is clearly warranted."

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