Effectiveness of massage therapy as co-adjuvant treatment to exercise in osteoarthritis of the knee

The effectiveness of exercise therapy in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee (KOA) is widely evidenced. The goal of this study is to compare the effectiveness of massage therapy as a co-adjuvant treatment for KOA. A blind, randomized controlled trial design was used. Eighteen women were placed at random into one of two different groups. Group A was treated with massage therapy and an exercise program, and Group B was treated with the exercise program alone. The intervention lasted for 6 weeks. Outcomes were assessed using a verbal analogue scale (VAS), the WOMAC index, and the Get-Up and Go test. Baseline, post-treatment, and 1- and 3- month follow-up data were collected. Values were considered statistically significant at a p< 0.05. The Mann-Whitney U test was applied in order to find out the differences between groups, and to verify the existence of such differences, the Friedman Test for repeated measures complemented with multiple comparisons tests was carried out. In both groups, significant differences were seen in the three variables between the baseline measurement and three months after treatment, with the exception of the WOMAC variable in group B (p=0.064) No significant differences were found between both groups in the WOMAC index (p=0.508) and VAS (p=0.964) variables and the Get-Up and Go test (p=0.691).

The study found that the combination of exercise-based therapy and massage therapy may result in clinical improvement in patients with KOA. The use of massage therapy combined with exercise as a treatment for gonarthrosis does not appear to have any beneficial effects.