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Background: Traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine uses complex treatment approaches, including manual therapies, lifestyle and nutritional advice, dietary supplements, medication, yoga, and purification techniques. Ayurvedic strategies are often used to treat osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee; however, no systematic data are available on their effectiveness in comparison with standard care. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of complex Ayurvedic treatment in comparison with conventional methods of treating OA symptoms in patients with knee osteoarthritis. Methods and design: In a prospective, multicenter, randomized controlled trial, 150 patients between 40 and 70 years, diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the knee, following American College of Rheumatology criteria and an average pain intensity of >= 40 mm on a 100 mm visual analog scale in the affected knee at baseline will be randomized into two groups. In the Ayurveda group, treatment will include tailored combinations of manual treatments, massages, dietary and lifestyle advice, consideration of selected foods, nutritional supplements, yoga posture advice, and knee massage. Patients in the conventional group will receive self-care advice, pain medication, weight-loss advice (if overweight), and physiotherapy following current international guidelines. Both groups will receive 15 treatment sessions over 12 weeks. Outcomes will be evaluated after 6 and 12 weeks and 6 and 12 months. The primary endpoint is a change in the score on the Western Ontario and McMaster University Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) after 12 weeks. Secondary outcome measurements will use WOMAC subscales, a pain disability index, a visual analog scale for pain and sleep quality, a pain experience scale, a quality-of-life index, a profile of mood states, and Likert scales for patient satisfaction, patient diaries, and safety. Using an adapted PRECIS scale, the trial was identified as lying mainly in the middle of the efficacy-effectiveness continuum. Discussion: This trial is the first to compare the effectiveness of a complex Ayurvedic intervention with a complex conventional intervention in a Western medical setting in patients with knee osteoarthritis. During the trial design, aspects of efficacy and effectiveness were discussed. The resulting design is a compromise between rigor and pragmatism.

Yoga has been found effective in the treatment of chronic low back pain. We aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of lyengar yoga in chronic neck pain by means of a randomized clinical trial. Seventy-seven patients (aged 47.9 +/- 7.9, 67 female) with chronic neck pain who scored >40 mm on a 100-mm visual analog scale (VAS) were randomized to a 9-week lyengar yoga program with weekly 90-minute classes (n = 38) or to a self-care/exercise program (n = 38). Patients were examined at baseline and after 4 and 10 weeks. The primary outcome measure was change of mean pain at rest (VAS) from baseline to week 10. Secondary outcomes included pain at motion, functional disability, quality of life (QOL), and psychological outcomes. Twelve patients in the yoga group and 11 patients in the self-care/exercise group were lost to follow-up, with higher study nonadherence in the self-care group (5 versus 10 patients). Mean pain at rest was reduced from 44.3 +/- 20.1 to 13.0 +/- 11.6 at week 10 by yoga and from 41.9 +/- 21.9 to 34.4 +/- 21.1 by self-care/exercise (group difference: -20.1, 95% confidence interval: -30.0, -10.1; P < .001). Pain at motion was reduced from 53.4 18.5 to 22.4 +/- 18.7 at week 10 by yoga and from 49.4 +/- 22.8 to 39.9 +/- 21.5 by self-care/exercise (group difference: -18.7, 95% confidence interval: -29.3, -8.1; P < .001). Significant treatment effects of yoga were also found for pain-related apprehension, disability, QOL, and psychological outcomes. Sensitivity analyses suggested minimal influence of dropout rates. Both programs were well tolerated. In this preliminary trial, yoga appears to be an effective treatment in chronic neck pain with possible additional effects on psychological well-being and QOL. The effectiveness of yoga in chronic neck pain should be further tested by comparative effectiveness studies with longer observation periods. Perspective: This article presents the results of a randomized controlled trial on the clinical effects of a 9-week yoga program or self-care exercise in patients with chronic neck pain. Yoga led to superior pain relief and functional improvements and might be a useful treatment option for chronic neck pain. (C) 2012 by the American Pain Society