Osteoarthritis (OA) is a leading cause of chronic pain and disability in older adults, which most commonly affects the joints of the knee, hip, and hand. To date, there are no established disease modifying interventions that can halt or reverse OA progression. Therefore, treatment is focused on alleviating pain and maintaining or improving physical and psychological function. Rehabilitation is widely recommended as first-line treatment for OA as, in many cases, it is safer and more effective than the best-established pharmacological interventions. In this article, we describe the presentation of OA pain and give an overview of its peripheral and central mechanisms. We then provide a state-of-the-art review of rehabilitation for OA pain—including self-management programs, exercise, weight loss, cognitive behavioral therapy, adjunct therapies, and the use of aids and devices. Next, we explore several promising directions for clinical practice, including novel education strategies to target unhelpful illness and treatment beliefs, methods to enhance the efficacy of exercise interventions, and innovative, brain-directed treatments. Finally, we discuss potential future research in areas, such as treatment adherence and personalized rehabilitation for OA pain.
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