Hospital-Based Exercise Program Reduced Pain, Improved Quality of Life

Sandra Goldsmith, MA, MS, RD Director of Public and Patient Education at Hospital for Special Surgery New York Interview with:
Sandra Goldsmith, MA, MS, RD
Director of Public and Patient Education at Hospital for Special Surgery
New York City.

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Almost 50 million adults in the United States suffer from some form of musculoskeletal disorder, which can affect their mobility and quality of life. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and affects more than 70 percent of adults between the ages of 55 and 78. Research has shown that there is a connection between being physically active and maintaining joint health, pain relief and improved quality of life. This study attempts to support the efficacy of Hospital for Special Surgery’s hospital-based exercise programs in increasing physical activity and improving quality of life through pain relief and improved stiffness, fatigue and balance in the older adult community.

This study found that after taking the exercise classes, fewer participants reported experiencing a high level of muscle/joint pain from their condition (56 percent before the program started vs. 47 percent after completing the program). The study also reported improved quality of life, as evidenced by statistically significant reductions in how much their pain interfered with their general activities, ability to walk, mood, sleep and enjoyment of life. In addition, 83 percent of participants indicated a reduction in stiffness; 82 percent said they felt their balance improved; and 67 percent said they experienced less fatigue as a result of taking part in the program. Health outcomes were also related to the type of exercise class participants chose, with the greatest reduction in muscle/joint pain reported by those who took t’ai chi.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: One of the biggest take-away messages is the importance of being physically active. This research supports the notion that exercise is an important part of maintaining and/or improving quality of life and mobility in older adults, even when suffering from a musculoskeletal condition.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: In our study, our classes were offered only once a week; future study is needed to establish the effect of exercise frequency and its impact on health-related musculoskeletal outcomes such as pain, stiffness, balance and fatigue.


Hospital-based exercise program improves quality of life for adults with arthritis

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Last Updated on December 18, 2014 by Marie Benz MD FAAD