Effect of Continuous Compression Stimulation on Pressure-Pain Threshold and Muscle Spasms in Older Adults With Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Trial

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Abstract

Objective:

The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of continuous compression stimulation on pressure-pain threshold and muscle spasms in older adults with knee osteoarthritis.

Methods:

Thirty-two older adults with knee osteoarthritis on outpatient visits were randomly divided into 2 groups. Those in the treatment group (n = 16) received 5-minute massage therapy (continuous compression stimulation), and those in the control group (n = 16) received sham massage therapy (touch without compression). Immediately before and after single-intervention sessions, the pressure-pain threshold, muscle spasm, and pain were quantified.

Results:

The change in pain on walking in the treatment group exceeded 1.9 cm, corresponding to the minimum clinically important difference. In the treatment group, the pressure-pain threshold improved significantly for pain both at rest and while walking, but the improvement in muscle spasm was not significant.

Conclusions:

Massage therapy resulted in minimal clinically important changes for pain relief. There was an increase in the pressure-pain threshold in the older adults with knee osteoarthritis. We propose that the improvements in pain may be related to the medial thigh muscle rather than knee osteoarthritis.

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