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MSK Pain – Improves general health

Evidence summary (Updated 2022)
The broader effects of PA are generally well known well known, however not always reported in individual LTCs. Schulz et al. reported on the cardiovascular and systemic inflammation benefits specifically in those with OA and found improvements in VO2, HR and Diastolic BP. No significant effect was found in systolic BP and the levels of IL-6(1).
One review article with meta-analysis specifically looked into the association between physical activity and health related quality of life in those with OA(2). 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
A – High quality

Strength of recommendation
2 – 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 limited statistically significant evidence to support an improvement in general health in those with OA undertaking regular physical activity, there is certainly no or little evidence of harm.


  1. JM S, TB B, HF A, Woehrle E, CA P, MJ L, et al. Are we missing the target? Are we aiming too low? What are the aerobic exercise prescriptions and their effects on markers of cardiovascular health and systemic inflammation in patients with knee osteoarthritis? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Sports Med [Internet]. 2020 Jul 1 [cited 2022 Jan 5];54(13):771–5. Available from:
  2. Umehara T, Tanaka R. Effective exercise intervention period for improving body function or activity in patients with knee osteoarthritis undergoing total knee arthroplasty: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Brazilian J Phys Ther. 2018 Jul 1;22(4):265–75.