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MSK Pain – Improves quality of life

Evidence summary (Updated 2022)
The evidence base regarding physical activity and its impact on quality of life in those with osteoarthritis is conflicting. Whilst some have demonstrated that it can have a positive effect in OA knee(2,8,10,11), others have failed to find a correlation(12–14). Zampogna et al found no significant difference on QoL outcome measures comparing most PA interventions to controls except for aquatic interventions; where a significant difference (SMD -0.43, 95%CI -0.67 to 0.19 with moderate heterogeneity I2=51%) was found in SF-12 and KOOS QoL scores post-intervention(4). These findings were consistent with the earlier findings of Hurley et al. who found 5 studies reporting on QoL using SF-36 with an overall significant improvement in these domains but also with heterogeneity and study limitations such as lack of blinding(3).
There are no reports that physical activity impacts negatively on quality of life.

Quality of evidence
B – Moderate quality – while good quality trials have been undertaken in this area there is a current inconsistency of findings and marked heterogeneity.

Strength of recommendation
2 – Weak recommendation – on the basis of the existing evidence and expert clinical opinion some people can be expected to report improved quality of life.

Whilst a definite positive impact on quality of life has not been demonstrated throughout the literature, there is no evidence to suggest a negative impact. Some people with OA can be expected to report an improved quality of life due to the recognised positive impact of physical activity on pain, function and stiffness


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