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Pain Manag Nurs. 2010 Dec;11(4):234-44. doi: 10.1016/j.pmn.2009.06.001. Epub 2009 Sep 8.

Best evidence of psychosocially focused nonpharmacologic therapies for symptom management in older adults with osteoarthritis.

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  • 1School of Nursing, Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania 16801, USA.


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common chronic joint problem among older adults which causes severe pain and loss of physical function. Early diagnosis and proper management are important strategies in delaying disease exacerbation and maintaining physical mobility. The number of older adults suffering from joint diseases is increasing, and many of these individuals are using nonpharmacologic therapies (NPTs) to control pain. Because there is no cure for OA, interventions have aimed at controlling pain, improving joint function, and minimizing disability. This paper reviewed literature that examines the effects of psychosocially focused NPTs, including education, self-management, coping skills, and social support for pain control and function improvement in older adults with OA. This review demonstrates that NPTs do not have the side effects that pharmacologic therapies do, but more high-quality clinical trials with appropriate design and meta-analyses need to be conducted to more clearly identify the effects of such NPTs to control pain and improve physical function in older adults with OA. Because many NPTs are easy to learn and use without serious side effects, nurses can play a pivotal role in helping patients implement NPTs for maximal benefit.

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