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MSK Pain – Improves mental health

Improves mental 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 trend towards significance in the mental 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 mental health in people with OA.

Quality of evidence

Moderate quality

Strength of recommendation

Weak recommendation – on the basis of the existing evidence and expert clinical opinion some people may be expected to report improvements in their mental health.


Whilst there is no statistically significant evidence to support an improvement in mental health in those with OA undertaking regular physical activity, there is no evidence of harm. Moreover, there is good quality evidence from those in the general population that regular physical activity can have a positive impact on mental health [2].


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

2         DOH. Start Active , Stay Active: a report on physical activity from the four home countries’ Chief Medical Officers. London: 2011.