A randomized, controlled study published in JAMA Open found that patients who engaged in a virtual physical therapy program saw a greater reduction in knee pain than those who continued with their usual care plan at home. However, the study was not blinded, which could affect patients’ self-reported pain scores.
As investors pour funds into digital tools for musculoskeletal pain, new studies are putting them to the test. Results of one such study, published Tuesday in JAMA Network Open, found that digital physical therapy could be a more effective means of reducing knee pain for patients than standard self-management.
A total of 105 people with knee osteoarthritis participated in the randomized, controlled trial, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Nottingham. A little less than half of the group was given an app developed by Swedish digital health startup Joint Academy, while the remaining 57 were given a self-management plan by their general practitioner.
Patients who received digital treatment reported their pain decreased by 41%, while patients who received traditional care only saw a 6% decrease. But it’s important to note that the study wasn’t blinded, which could have affected users’ self-reported pain scores, which were based on a scale of 0 to 10.
Those who used the Joint Academy program were given an individualized exercise plan and matched with a physical therapist that they could meet with through video calls or text messages. They also recorded what activities they had completed in the app.
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