Hospital-based exercise programs can reduce osteoarthritis pain

A study presented at the American College of Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health ProfessionalsĀ annual meeting in Washington, DC, demonstrated that a low-cost exercise program can significantly improve pain, function, balance and quality of life in patients with osteoarthritis, according to a news release.

The study, which was conducted by researchers at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York, N.Y., examined the effects of low-cost, weekly exercise classes offered by the HSS as part of its Osteoarthritis Wellness Initiative. The classes included tai chi, yoga, mat and chair Pilates, yogilates, and dance fitness and met weekly over the course of 1 year.

The researchers administered surveys to 200 participants before and after they completed the exercise programs, which included measures of self-reported pain, balance, falls and level of physical activity.

Approximately 53% of participants indicated that they experienced pain relief after completing the exercise program, with a significant decrease in reported severity of pain. 54% also reported an improvement in general activity, mood, walking ability, sleep, normal work and enjoyment of life, and the reported rate of falls and injuries requiring hospitalization both decreased after participants completed the exercise programs.

“When participants were asked to report their level of pain severity, there were statistically significant reductions in pain from pre- to post-test. Pain is a huge factor in quality of life,” Sandra Goldsmith, director of the Public and Patient Education Department at HSS, stated in the release. “If we can offer classes that help reduce pain, that is a good thing.”

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