Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Knee News

New Pain Therapy for Knee Arthritis

In this study, the results of a pilot program using a new pain control device are reported. The treatment method is called Biowave deep tissue neuromodulation. The device used is called Deepwave.

Deep tissue neuromodulation is done by delivering low frequency electrical energy into the painful area of the knee. Pain signals to and from the nerves are interrupted resulting in a decrease in discomfort.

Two groups of patients with severe pain from knee osteoarthritis were included. Half were treated with Deepwave. The other half received a sham treatment. This means the device was placed on the patient but it wasn't actually turned on.

Everyone was treated one time for 30 minutes. Pain, stiffness, and function were measured before and after treatment. These measures were used to determine treatment success. Patients were followed closely during the first 48 hours. They also got a phone call one week after the treatment to check on their progress.

The treatment group had a greater decrease in pain intensity than the sham group. Pain control was much better in the treatment group 48 hours after the nerve stimulation. The live treatment group also reported greater satisfaction with the results one week after the treatment.

Half of the patients in the treatment group reported using fewer pain medications. None of the patients in the sham group reported a decrease in drug use.

The authors suggest the Deepwave neuromodulation device is a safe and effective tool for pain therapy. Improved function with greater activity level is possible with decreased pain levels provided by this device.

More studies are needed to see if this treatment has any negative side effects over time. Since this was a pilot project with only a single dose, other trials with longer treatment are needed.

Richard W. Kang, MD, MS, et al. Prospective Randomized Single-blinded Controlled Clinical Trial of Percutaneous Neuromodulation Pain Therapy Device Versus Sham for the Osteoarthritic Knee: A Pilot Study. In Orthopedics. June 2007. Vol. 30. No. 6. Pp. 439-445.


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