Severe hip osteoarthritis is responsible for disabling pain and functional impairment of the joint. Although total hip arthroplasty (THA) is a successful treatment, some patients have multiple comorbidities that represent contraindications for THA. Conventional drug therapies are often ineffective or responsible for numerous side effects. For these patients, it is difficult to draw up an acceptable rehabilitation path, as the main limitation is intense pain. New rehabilitation strategies need to be developed that relieve pain and improve articular function. The combination of traditional treatments such as education and therapeutic exercise with innovative, minimally-invasive therapies such as continuous radiofrequency (CRF) appears to reduce hip pain by determining the neurolysis of the joint.
The aim of our study was to describe the reduction in pain and improvements in joint function when CRF is combined with the therapeutic exercise in rehabilitation of patients with severe hip osteoarthritis.
Case series study.
Rehabilitation service outpatients.
Twenty-five patients with severe hip osteoarthritis causing disabling pain and with contraindications to THA, and for whom conventional drug therapies were ineffective or responsible for numerous side effects.
The study design included: initial clinical-functional assessment using the Harris Hip Score (HHS), the Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) and the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC); a pre-lesion anaesthetic block; hip neuroablation with CRF; a three-week kinesitherapy protocol (3 sessions per week); two further assessments using the same scales one month (T1) and six months (T2) after CRF.
Improvements at T1 and T2 follow-ups, after CRF (p=0.000) were recorded for articular pain and function. However, results at T2 were worse than those at T1 (p=0.000).
CRF combined with therapeutic exercise in rehabilitation of severe hip osteoarthritis is an attractive option for significant pain relief as it allows patients to carry out kinesitherapy more easily.
CRF could represent a valid alternative in the rehabilitation of patients with severe hip osteoarthritis especially when other therapeutic approaches are unworkable.