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Evaluating Telephone Calls to Help Reduce Pain in Patients With Hip or Knee Arthritis FREE

[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

The summary below is from the full report titled “Telephone-Based Self-management of Osteoarthritis. A Randomized Trial.” It is in the 2 November 2010 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine (volume 153, pages 570-579). The authors are K.D. Allen, E.Z. Oddone, C.J. Coffman, S.K. Datta, K.A. Juntilla, J.H. Lindquist, T.A. Walker, M. Weinberger, and H.B. Bosworth.

Ann Intern Med. 2010;153(9):I-56. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-153-9-201011020-00002
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What is the problem and what is known about it so far?

Patients who have aging-related osteoarthritis of the knees and hips benefit from treatment with medications and sometimes from surgery. Studies have shown that helping patients to “self-manage” their arthritis, such as by being more active and losing weight, can help them achieve even better control of pain and further improve their ability to perform daily activities. However, it is difficult for primary care physicians to find the time or the staff to help their patients learn and maintain these healthy behaviors.

Why did the researchers do this particular study?

To see whether monthly telephone calls from a health educator about exercise and other healthy lifestyle behaviors would reduce pain and improve function in patients with arthritis.

Who was studied?

461 patients with either knee or hip arthritis treated at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

How was the study done?

In this randomized trial, 1 group of patients received educational information about arthritis and 12 monthly support phone calls from a health educator and 2 other groups received either no special support or monthly phone calls about an unrelated condition.

What did the researchers find?

The group that received monthly phone calls about arthritis had lower pain scores and improvement on some measures of function at 12 months compared with the other 2 groups. The cost of the intervention was modest.

What were the limitations of the study?

Because most of the study patients were male veterans, it is unclear whether a telephone support program would work for other groups of patients.

What are the implications of the study?

The study shows benefit from telephone support programs that educate patients about ways to reduce arthritis pain and function through a healthier lifestyle. This could be a promising way to supplement treatment from a primary care clinician.





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