Massage therapy has been found to reduce arthritis pain and increase arthritis sufferers’ strength. Research has shown, also, that massage benefits patients who have osteoarthritis of the knee.

Osteoarthritis of the knee is the leading cause of disability in the U.S., with nearly 4.3 million adults over age 60 having the symptomatic form of the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New research has found that patients with osteoarthritis of the knee who also have pain in other joints are more likely to experience greater knee pain, according to a press release from Wiley-Blackwell, publisher of the journal in which the research was reported.

Pain in the low back, as well as elbow pain and foot pain on the same side as the affected knee, are associated with more severe knee pain. For example, 57.4 percent of participants in this new study who reported osteoarthritis of the knee reported having low-back pain as well.

This research, conducted by researchers from Harvard Medical School, New England Baptist Hospital and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, used data provided by individuals from the Osteoarthritis Initiative, a multicenter, population-based observational cohort study of osteoarthritis of the knee, the press release noted. A subgroup of 1,389 participants, ages 45-79 years who had symptomatic osteoarthritis of the knee in at least one knee were included, with patients also asked to identify pain in the lower back, neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand, hip, knee, ankle or foot.

“Our findings show that pain in the low back, foot and elbow may be associated with greater knee pain, confirming that symptomatic knee [osteoarthritis] rarely occurs in isolation,” lead researcher Pradeep Suri, M.D., said.

“Low Back Pain and Other Musculoskeletal Pain Comorbidities in Individuals with Symptomatic Osteoarthritis of the Knee: Data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative” is running in the November issue of Arthritis Care & Research, a journal published on behalf of the American College of Rheumatology.

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