Current Projects | Past Projects

Current Projects

ENGAGE - A New Rehabilitation Offering for Knee Arthritis (HUM00067979)

Although knee osteoarthritis (KOA) affects 27 million adults in the US and is a leading cause of disability, current rehabilitation treatments are suboptimal. Exercise is the most widely recommended rehabilitation treatment for KOA, and while it does reduce pain and improve physical function in the short-term, these effects tend to wane over time. Furthermore, these programs do not typically address the other symptoms (widespread pain, mood changes, fatigue) that also contribute to disability in KOA.

Engage is a pilot test of a new approach to KOA rehabilitation that combines elements of cognitive behavioral therapy with occupational therapy. An occupational therapist who has been educated and trained by a cognitive behavioral therapist will deliver the program. ENGAGE will combine cognitive and behaviorally-oriented self-management training from traditional cognitive behavioral therapy with occupational therapy’s goal of maximizing engagement in daily life activities within the context of chronic symptoms.

Acupressure for Low Back Pain (HUM00046724)

75% of adults will experience low back pain and about 10% of those will develop chronic low back pain. Chronic low back pain (CLBP) reduces physical functioning, mental well-being, sleep, and overall quality of life. This study will compare two kinds of acupressure to standard of care for fatigue and sleep quality in low back pain patients. It will also evaluate the validity and feasibility of teaching acupressure interventions using a TCM practitioner-trained educator with the help of a web-based application.

Past Projects

Tailored Activity Pacing for Chronic Low Back Pain (HUM00056342)

Chronic low back pain (CLBP) is the most common type of pain reported by veterans, and contributes to an array of negative effects, including unemployment, functional impairment, and reduced quality of life. Although non-pharmacological interventions are recognized as an important aspect of CLBP treatment, there are very few veteran-specific interventions that address unique symptom and psychosocial experiences. One way to optimize symptom management is with a brief tailored intervention that can be delivered within the context of clinical care, and is amenable to veterans.

There were three phases in this study:

  • Study (Phase) I is an examination of real-time symptom severity, pain-related fear of movement, and physical activity in veterans with CLBP.
  • Study (Phase) II consists of a series of focus groups – 2 with veterans and 1 with rehabilitation professionals.
  • Study (Phase) III consisted of a brief self-administered acupressure treatment that can be easily incorporated into the existing clinical model, and is a direct response to veteran requests for self-management options.

Effectiveness of Tailored Activity Pacing for Symptomatic Osteoarthritis (HUM00041398)

Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the leading causes of disability in older adults. Pain in knee and/or hip OA is one of the leading reasons why people seek medical treatment. While both pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions are often recommended (e.g. NSAIDs), the latter is generally limited to suggestions to exercise and to lose weight. Healthcare professionals, such as occupational and physical therapists can bridge this gap by offering structured guidance in behavioral management strategies.

This research is designed to test a realistic and targeted symptom management strategy for people with a disease process that presents with chronic and fluctuating symptoms that interfere with daily life. The tailored approach may provide the personally-relevant context through which long-term benefits are more often realized.

The primary objective of this proposal is to examine effectiveness of a tailored pacing intervention on fatigue, pain, and physical function compared to a general pacing intervention and to a usual care group.

Fatigability Pilot Project (HUM00029246)

Fatigability represents the individual expression of tiredness within the context of an activity of any kind. Different individuals might report comparable levels of fatigue, but have disparate daily fatigability experiences.

Our goal was to develop and refine a fatiguing protocol that was based in daily life activities. We then incorporated real-time assessments of fatigue throughout the days following the fatiguing protocol to evaluate the influence of protracted symptoms as they related to activity. Participants performed two lab-based fatiguing protocols, one that was based in physically fatiguing activities and the second one comprised of mentally fatiguing activities. We will evaluated participants' multi-dimenensional fatigue response to these two collections of standardized activities.

The Fatigue Study (HUM00019087)

This purpose of this study was to see how pain and fatigue associated with osteoarthritis affect your everyday life and to see how these symptoms impacted physical activity and sleep in adults with osteoarthritis aged 65 and above. This study involved two 2-hour visits to our lab in Ann Arbor and 5-days of wearing an activity monitor at home while keeping a daily log of symptoms.

Manage Osteoarthritis Symptoms Today: Project MOST (HUM00014789)

The purpose of this study was to test the effectiveness of a non-pharmaceutical intervention for older adults with osteoarthritis. For effective management of osteoarthritis (OA), interventions to help adults with leg OA cope with symptoms and increase physical activity are considered necessary. However, the best way to instruct people with OA about managing symptoms is not known. We were interested in testing the effectiveness of two occupational therapy interventions for people who have painful knee or hip OA.