Vibrating Gloves Significantly Reduce Osteoarthritis-Related Hand Pain

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The investigators of this study comment that “the vibrating gloves did not help to reduce pain in other areas of the body.”
The investigators of this study comment that “the vibrating gloves did not help to reduce pain in other areas of the body.”

Gloves with small vibrating motors may safely reduce hand pain among women with osteoarthritis (OA) during and after use, according to results of a study published Pain Medicine.

To determine the potential pain-relieving effects of wearing vibrating gloves in patients with OA, investigators randomly assigned women with OA to wear vibrating gloves for 20 minutes per day (n=34) or not (n=35) for a duration of 3 months.

Patients were administered baseline questionnaires to assess pain levels prior to the study. They also underwent mechanical quantitative sensory testing (QST) and were advised to download a daily pain assessment app on their smartphone to log subjective pain levels throughout the study period.

According to the patients' subjective pain reports, those receiving the vibrating gloves had significantly greater pain relief compared with controls (P <.05). There were no differences among the 2 groups with regard to mood, sleep, or interference in daily activities.

Because this study's sample size was small, these constitute preliminary results that may not be significant enough to warrant application of this therapy in patients with OA. In addition, the study's findings are not generalizable to the larger OA patient population, as the cohort was comprised of women only and primarily white women (91%).

The investigators of this study comment that “the vibrating gloves did not help to reduce pain in other areas of the body,” despite 12.5% of subjects reporting pain relief in other body areas. This finding potentially limits the utility of this therapy in patients with OA.

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Reference

Jamison RN, Mei A, Edwards RR, Ross EL. Efficacy of vibrating gloves for chronic hand pain due to osteoarthritis [published online September 14, 2017]. Pain Medicine. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnx230

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