Editor: Yves Henrotin

Non Pharmacological Therapies in the Management of Osteoarthritis

eBook: US $59 Special Offer (PDF + Printed Copy): US $136
Printed Copy: US $107
Library License: US $236
ISBN: 978-1-60805-541-8 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-60805-317-9 (Online)
Year of Publication: 2012
DOI: 10.2174/97816080531791120101


Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease prevalent among the elderly. Its most prominent feature is the progressive destruction of articular cartilage which results in impaired joint motion, severe pain and ultimately disability. Its prevalence and its impact on daily life pose a significant public health problem. Today, a cure for osteoarthritis remains elusive and the management of the disease is largely palliative, focusing on the alleviation of symptoms. Current recommendations include a combination of pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments. The term “non-pharmacological” includes physical therapy and rehabilitation, but also nutraceuticals. All guidelines on osteoarthritis management highlight the importance of weight loss and physical activity to improve the functional status of patients. A number of alternative therapies are also commonly suggested by physicians and physiotherapists in their daily practice. The efficacy of these therapies is not evidenced by strong clinical trials. This category includes education, information, electrotherapy, ultrasound, electromagnetic field, spa, hydrotherapy, acupuncture, etc. Non Pharmacological Therapies in the Management of Osteoarthritis reviews the clinical relevance of these therapies and the difficulties in conducting high quality trials assessing their efficacy. This e-book presents supportive scientific evidence for their efficacy and explains the mechanism of action of nutraceuticals targeting osteoarthritis. It also includes many example of exercises, mobilization and manipulation techniques directly useful for medical professionals.


Considered as inevitable for decades, osteoarthritis (OA) is now regarded as a "real" disease rather than an unavoidable marker of aging, like white hairs or wrinkles. This changing face of the disease is mainly due to researchers and to patients: (i) researchers, because they have demonstrated that OA is not the simple consequence of passive wear and tear of the cartilage but the result of biological events, with many degradative and inflammatory processes involving multiple tissues, cell types, chemical and physical mediators, (ii) patients, because they rejuvenate year after year. Indeed, the age corresponding to the so-called "third age" has moved back each year because of an increased life expectancy (an increase of 2 months every year). How can we now consider a 65 year-old patient as an “old” person (although this was the case even 30 years ago)?! Thus, patients' behaviour is changing, fortunately more demanding, requiring more effective treatments for their symptoms, pain and function. They now need their knees, hips, and hands for their profession, travels, daily activities, sports, etc. Based on these patients’ requests and given the exponential increase in incidence and prevalence of OA expected in the next years, societal costs will soon be abysmal. The three main risk factors for OA, aging, obesity and trauma, can only be amplified in the coming decade. The new lifestyles observed in industrialized countries lead to new leisure activities or sports that increase lower limb injuries, or instead multiply the time spent in front of screens of any kind that increases weight proportional to the sedentary time. It is therefore urgent to anticipate this situation by implementing methods of prevention possibly cheaper than potential targeted drugs to come for cure.

All national and international recommendations for the management of OA stress the importance of not neglecting the non-pharmacological treatments, not only for primary prevention, but also for secondary prevention. This book, consisting of chapters written by authors, who are international leaders in this field, highlights all the potential of non-pharmacological treatments for OA, from weight loss, to manual therapy, exercises, educational programs, crenobalneotherapy, acupuncture, insoles, footwear and dietetic supplements. The added-value of this book is undeniably the effort to keep an evidence-based approach in all the chapters although this is challenging: it is much more difficult to conduct studies methodologically perfect for these types of intervention than it is for drugs: placebo groups, blinding, randomisation are uneasy to define, as Dr. Marty’s chapter points out

I am grateful to Professor Yves Henrotin for the coordination of such a book that will be a must to serve as a source of information for health care professionals, primary care physicians, orthopaedists, rheumatologists, geriatricians, physiotherapists, and any other professionals committed to helping all these patients who have to cope with such a painful and disabling disease.

Pr Francis Berenbaum
Head of the Department of Rheumatology
Faculty of Medicine Pierre & Marie Curie Paris VI Saint-Antoine hospital, AP-HP
184 rue du faubourg Saint-Antoine
75012 Paris


.Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis: An Agonizing Skeletal Triad.
.Natural Products for the Management of Arthritic Disorders.
.Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: A Systematic Approach to Arthritis of Rheumatic Diseases.
.Diagnosis and Treatment in Rheumatology.