A cognitive-behavioral-based program to help patients manage their arthritis showed continued improvements in pain and daily functioning in osteoarthritis of the hip or knee. The study included 273 patients aged 40 to 60 years. During the 3-month study, the participants were randomly assigned to self-management or care by a family physician or specialist. The self-management program involved six 2-hour sessions that taught the patients goal setting to optimize activity levels, self-relaxation for pain control, self-diagnostic skills, and problem solving tears.
Reporting in the Journal of Rheumatology (March 2005), the researchers noted an average decrease in knee pain of 0.67 points on the pain severity scale in the intervention group, compared with no change in the physician-care group. The participants'scores on 2 questionnaires that measured functional status indicated an improvement of 2.45 points in the self-management group, compared with a decline of 0.53 points in the physician group.