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Follow the latest research regarding osteoarthritis treatment options.

Can Relaxation Help?

Guided imagery harnesses the power of imagination to induce relaxation and reduce stress. Preliminary research from Purdue University (Research in Nursing & Health, October 2006; Pain Management Nursing, September 2004) suggests that guided imagery may improve pain, mobility and the quality of life for people with osteoarthritis.

The technique is thought to work by tricking your body into responding to the soothing sensations as though they were the real things.

For instance, if you see yourself in your mind’s eye floating peacefully on a cloud, your body may actually relax, slowing your pulse and lowering your blood pressure. In addition, your body may release endorphins, chemicals that are natural painkillers.

Real results

One study by the Purdue researchers included 28 women over age 65 who had osteoarthritis pain. These women were randomly divided into an imagery group, which listened to a 12-minute guided imagery tape twice a day for 12 weeks, and a control group, which was included for comparison’s sake and didn’t take part in the guided imagery. The script for the tape was designed to promote relaxation and positive thoughts about reduced pain and improved mobility. It was filled with vivid imagery about beautiful sights, soothing sounds and comfortable feelings. The tape also led the women through a relaxation exercise in which they relaxed major muscle groups one after another, moving from the feet to the head.

By study’s end, the imagery group had improved its health-related quality of life, while the control group had not. Pain and mobility are big factors in quality of life, and a previous study by the same researchers suggested that guided imagery might help manage these osteoarthritis symptoms. However, even when questions about pain and mobility were excluded from a questionnaire used to measure quality of life, the imagery group still showed improvements. The remaining questions covered topics such as social activities, support from other people, tension and mood. This suggests that imagery exercises may help improve not only physical symptoms, but also social and emotional well-being.

Minding the body

Guided imagery is one of a group of mind-body techniques that focus on the interaction between mental and physical factors as they influence overall health and wellbeing. An underlying assumption of these techniques is that people with a variety of illnesses can play an active role in managing their disease.

Guided imagery can be learned and practiced on your own with the help of a tape or book. Imagery training is also offered by therapists and other health care providers. To find a qualified practitioner, ask your doctor, a local hospital or a wellness center for a referral. If you’re being treated for an emotional or mental disorder, talk to your therapist first before trying this approach.

The bottom line

Hundreds of studies have shown that guided imagery can help reduce stress and make life less difficult for people with a wide range of diseases. When you have osteoarthritis, possible benefits include less pain, fewer problems getting around and enhanced social and emotional coping. In short, guided imagery won’t make the disease disappear, but it may make the symptoms easier to live with.

PLEASE NOTE: The studies and their findings that are presented in this article are for informational purposes only and are not meant to take the place of the advice of your doctor. By providing you with this information, Sanofi Biosurgery is not endorsing its content nor does it represent that the information is necessarily appropriate for you. You should consult with your doctor before starting any new health or exercise regimen.

References

“Alternative Treatments for Arthritis: An A to Z Guide.” D. Foltz-Gray. Atlanta, GA: Arthritis Foundation, 2005.

“Imagery.” American Cancer Society. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/TreatmentsandSideEffects/ ComplementaryandAlternativeMedicine/MindBodyandSpirit/imagery. Accessed September 6, 2011.

“Effect of Guided Imagery with Relaxation on Health-Related Quality of Life in Older Women With Osteoarthritis.” C.L. Baird and L.P. Sands. Research in Nursing & Health. October 2006, vol. 29, no. 5, pp. 442–451.

“A Pilot Study of the Effectiveness of Guided Imagery with Progressive Muscle Relaxation to Reduce Chronic Pain and Mobility Difficulties of Osteoarthritis.” C.L. Baird and L. Sands. Pain Management Nursing. September 2004, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 97–104.

“What is Complementary and Alternative Medicine?” National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Available at: http://nccam.nih.gov/health/whatiscam. Accessed September 6, 2011.

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Indication

Synvisc-One® (hylan G-F 20) is indicated for the treatment of pain in osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee in patients who have failed to respond adequately to conservative non-pharmacologic therapy and simple analgesics, e.g., acetaminophen.

Important Safety Information for Synvisc-One

Before trying Synvisc-One, tell your doctor if you have had an allergic reaction, such as swelling of the face, tongue or throat, respiratory difficulty, rash, itching or hives to SYNVISC or any hyaluronan-based products. Allergic reactions, some which can be potentially severe, have been reported during the use of Synvisc-One. Should not be used in patients with an infected knee joint, skin disease or infection around the area where the injection will be given, and should be used with caution when there is swelling of the legs due to problems with venous stasis or lymphatic drainage.

Synvisc-One is only for injection into the knee, performed by a doctor or other qualified health care professional. Synvisc-One has not been tested to show pain relief in joints other than the knee. Tell your doctor if you are allergic to products from birds – such as feathers, eggs or poultry – or if your leg is swollen or infected.

Synvisc-One has not been tested in children (≤21years old), pregnant women or women who are nursing. You should tell your doctor if you think you are pregnant or if you are nursing a child.

Talk to your doctor before resuming strenuous weight-bearing activities after treatment.

The side effects sometimes seen after Synvisc-One include (<2% each): pain, swelling, heat, redness, and/or fluid build-up in or around the knee. Tell your doctor if you experience any side effects after treatment with Synvisc-One.

 

View the Complete Prescribing Information for Synvisc-One

 

Indication

SYNVISC® (hylan G-F 20) is used to relieve knee pain due to osteoarthritis (OA). It is for patients who do not get enough relief from simple painkillers such as acetaminophen, or from exercise and physical therapy.

Important Safety Information for SYNVISC

Before trying SYNVISC, tell your doctor if you have had an allergic reaction, such as swelling of the face, tongue or throat, respiratory difficulty, rash, itching or hives to SYNVISC or any hyaluronan-based products. Serious allergic reactions have been reported. Should not be used in patients with an infected knee joint, skin disease or infection around the area where the injection will be given, or circulatory problems in the legs.

SYNVISC is only for injection into the knee, performed by a doctor or other qualified health care professional. SYNVISC has not been tested to show pain relief in joints other than the knee. Tell your doctor if you are allergic to products from birds - such as feathers, eggs or poultry - or if your leg is swollen or infected.

SYNVISC has not been tested in children (≤21years old), pregnant women or women who are nursing. You should tell your doctor if you think you are pregnant or if you are nursing a child. Talk to your doctor before resuming strenuous weight-bearing activities after treatment.

The side effects sometimes seen after SYNVISC include pain, swelling, heat, redness, and/or fluid buildup in or around the knee. These reactions were generally mild and did not last long, but in rare occasions these side effects were more severe. The most commonly occurring adverse events outside of the injected knee were rash, fever, nausea, and headache.

View the Complete Prescribing Information for SYNVISC

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Important Safety Information: SYNVISC and Synvisc-One are contraindicated in patients with known hypersensitivity to hyaluronan products or patients with infections in or around the target knee.