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Acupressure for the Treatment of Pain in Older Adults with Symptomatic Knee Osteoarthritis

a PSC Research Project

Investigators:   Lydia W. Li, Richard E. Harris, Laura May Struble, Susan Lynn Murphy, Alexander Tsodikov

Knee osteoarthritis (KOA) is a leading cause of disability in the elderly and this disability is commonly attributed to knee pain. Current treatments for knee pain are only modestly efficacious, and some common treatments like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) have adverse long-term effects. Acupressure is an inexpensive and noninvasive treatment that has the potential to be a useful long-term self-management strategy for pain. Acupressure can be easily taught and is safe enough to self-apply without supervision. The primary objective of this project is to determine whether self-administered acupressure is an effective and feasible self-management strategy for older adults with symptomatic KOA. Participants will be randomized to three treatment groups: pain-relief acupressure, sham acupressure, and usual care (UC). The intervention will last for 8 weeks during which participants in the pain-relief and sham acupressure groups will be taught the assigned treatment by a trained research assistant who is blinded to the treatment arm, and provided with a DVD to aid their practice at home. The research assistant will make weekly phone calls to support the participants? adherence to treatment. The UC group will receive no intervention from the research team. Data will be collected at baseline, mid-point (4 weeks after baseline) and the end ( 8 weeks) of the intervention. These results will help us assess the efficacy of pain-relief acupressure on knee pain in older adults, and allow us to calculate effect sizes to determine the appropriate sample size for a larger future study. Since no studies have involved older adults in self-administered acupressure, information about feasibility of and adherence to using this method in older adults would be invaluable.

Funding Period: 02/01/2013 to 01/31/2015

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