Multimodal therapies comprising spa applications are widely used as non-pharmaceutical treatment options for musculoskeletal diseases. The purpose of this randomized, controlled, open pilot study was to elucidate the involvement of the endocannabinoid system in a multimodal therapy approach. Twenty-five elderly patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA) received a 2-week spa therapy with or without combination of low-dose radon therapy in the Bad Gastein radon gallery. A 10-point numerical rating scale (pain in motion and at rest), WOMAC questionnaire, and the EuroQol-5D (EQ-5D) questionnaire were recorded at baseline, and during treatment period at weeks one and two, and at 3-month and 6-month follow-ups. Plasma levels of the endocannabinoid anandamide (AEA) were determined at baseline and at 2 weeks, and serum levels of several cartilage metabolism markers at all five time-points. A significant and sustained reduction of self-reported knee pain was observed in the study population, but no further significant effect of the additional radon therapy up and above base therapy. This pain reduction was accompanied by a significant reduction of AEA plasma levels during treatment in both groups. No significant differences were seen in serum marker concentrations between the groups treated with or without radon, but a small reduction of serum cartilage degradation markers was observed during treatment in both groups. This is the first study investigating AEA levels in the context of a non-pharmacological OA treatment. Since the endocannabinoid system represents a potential target for the development of new therapeutics, further studies will have to elucidate its involvement in OA pain.
Useful keywords (using NLM MeSH Indexing)
Combined Modality Therapy
Find related publications in this database (Keywords)Osteoarthritis