Study: Water therapy improves osteoarthritis

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Water therapy will bring pain relief, improved function and possibly forestall surgery for years in individuals suffering from osteoarthritis of leg or hip joints, according to new research published in The Cochrane Library.

Stretching or aerobic exercises in water should be performed more often by seniors, who represent the overwhelming majority of the nation's 21 million osteoarthritis victims, a Danish team of study reviewers said. Reviewers said hydrotherapy could decrease pain by 1 extra point (on a scale of 1 to 20) and improve function by 3 additional points (on a scale of 0 to 68).

They analyzed six trials comprising 800 study subjects with osteoarthritis in either the hip, knee or both. Conclusions were drawn after three months of exercise, either on land or in a pool.