The objective of this study was to report the efficacy of a 3-month treatment program consisting of neuromuscular exercise, education, diet, insoles and pain medication (MEDIC-treatment) compared to usual care (two leaflets with information and treatment advice) in reducing pain-related measures and sensitization in patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA) not eligible for total knee replacement (TKR). It included a pre-defined ancillary analysis of the results at 3 months of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of 100 patients randomized to MEDIC-treatment or usual care. Outcomes were sensitization assessed at the knee, the lower leg and forearm using a handheld algometer, peak pain intensity in the previous 24 h, pain intensity after 30 min of walking, pain location and pattern, spreading of pain (a region-divided body chart) and the usage of pain medication. The MEDIC group had larger improvements from baseline to 3 months in peak pain intensity (P = 0.02) and pain after 30 min of walking (P < 0.001) and in the number of body sites with pain (P = 0.04). There was no difference in the change in sensitization from baseline to 3 months between groups (P = 0.87), but sensitization decreased in both groups (P < 0.001).
Out of all 291 conditions studied in the Global Burden of Disease 2010 Study, neck pain ranked 4th highest in terms of disability and 21st in terms of overall burden.