Objectives: The aim of the study was to evaluate the therapeutic effect of electro-acupuncture (EA) and hydrotherapy, both in combination with patient education or with patient education alone, in the treatment of osteoarthritis in the hip.
Methods: Forty-five patients, aged 42-86 years, with radiographic changes consistent with osteoarthritis in the hip, pain related to motion, pain on load, and ache were chosen. They were randomly allocated to EA, hydrotherapy, both in combination with patient education, or patient education alone. Outcome measures were the disability rating index (DRI), global self-rating index (GSI), and visual analogue scale (VAS). Assessments were done before the intervention and immediately after the last treatment and 1, 3, and 6 months after the last treatment.
Results: Pain related to motion and pain on load was reduced up to 3 months after last the treatment in the hydrotherapy group and up to 6 months in the EA group. Ache during the day was significantly improved in both the EA and hydrotherapy group up to 3 months after the last treatment. Ache during the night was reduced in the hydrotherapy group up to 3 months after the last treatment and in the EA group up to 6 months after. Disability in functional activities was improved in EA and hydrotherapy groups up to 6 months after the last treatment. Quality of life was also improved in EA and hydrotherapy groups up to 3 months after the last treatment. There were no changes in the education group alone.
Discussion: In conclusion, EA and hydrotherapy, both in combination with patient education, induce long-lasting effects, shown by reduced pain and ache and by increased functional activity and quality of life, as demonstrated by differences in the pre- and post-treatment assessments.