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MSK Pain – Improves general health

Improves general health

Evidence summary

One review article with meta-analysis specifically looked into the association between physical activity and health related quality of life in those with OA [1]. This identified a positive trend towards significance in the general health component of the SF-36 questionnaire, although the result did not reach statistical significance. There is no evidence to suggest a negative effect of physical activity on general health in people with OA.

Quality of evidence

High quality

Strength of recommendation

Weak recommendation – on the basis of the existing evidence and expert clinical opinion some patients can be expected to report improved general health.


Whilst there is no statistically significant evidence to support an improvement in general health in those with OA undertaking regular physical activity, there is certainly no evidence of harm. Moreover, many with OA may report improved general health due to the recognised improvements in pain, function and stiffness when undertaking regular physical activity.


1         Tanaka R, Ozawa J, Kito N, et al.Does exercise therapy improve the health-related quality of life of people with knee osteoarthritis? A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Phys Ther Sci2015;27:3309–14. doi:10.1589/jpts.27.3309