Hospital-based exercise program improves quality of life for adults with arthritis

December 16, 2014

It may seem counterintuitive, but exercise can be beneficial for people suffering from arthritis and other muscle and joint conditions. A new study at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) finds that older adults experienced less pain, reduced stiffness and less fatigue after participating in a hospital-based exercise program.

"The study adds to the growing body of evidence that exercise can help people with muscle and joint conditions," said Sandra Goldsmith, MA, MS, RD, director of Public and Patient Education at Hospital for Special Surgery.

Up to 50 million adults in the United States have some type of musculoskeletal condition, affecting mobility and quality of life. Ms. Goldsmith and colleagues set out to assess the impact of HSS exercise classes on pain, stiffness, fatigue, balance, falls and physical activity.

A total of 1,400 adults participated in various exercise programs at the hospital during the course of the study, which began in 2011. The low-cost classes, led by certified instructors, included pilates mat, therapeutic yoga, yoga-lates (a combination of yoga and pilates), t'ai chi and dance. Classes met once each week and were open to the general public.

"Our data indicate that hospital-based programs can play an important role in pain relief, improved quality of life and improved levels of physical activity in older individuals with musculoskeletal conditions," Ms. Goldsmith said. The research was presented at the American Public Health Association annual meeting in November.

"Often patients with musculoskeletal disease are more deconditioned than their disease-free counterparts. Strengthening the muscles around an arthritic joint has been shown to slow the progression of osteoarthritis and reduce pain," said Linda Russell, MD, a rheumatologist and member of the Community Benefit & Services Committee of the Board of Trustees at Hospital for Special Surgery.

The majority of participants in the exercise program were age 75 or older. Thirty-six percent were 75 to 84 years old; 31.2 percent were over age 85; 24.8 percent were age 65 to 84; and eight percent were under 65. Ninety-two percent were women.

A total of 204 individuals handed in questionnaires both before and after completing the program. Survey results covered September 2011 to July 2014.

The study found that after taking the classes, fewer participants reported experiencing a high level of muscle/joint pain from their condition (56 percent before the program started vs. 47 percent after completing the program). The study also reported statistically significant reductions in how much their pain interfered with their general activities, ability to walk, mood, sleep and enjoyment of life.

Eighty-three percent of participants indicated a reduction in stiffness; eighty-two percent said they felt their balance improved; and sixty-seven percent said they experienced less fatigue as a result of taking part in the program.

Health outcomes were also related to the type of exercise class participants chose, with the greatest reduction in muscle/joint pain reported by those who took t'ai chi.

"The survey results indicate that the hospital's exercise programs have a positive impact on the musculoskeletal health of participants," said Ms. Goldsmith. "Hospital for Special Surgery will continue to offer these programs to this community to help them stay active, decrease pain and improve their overall health."
-end-
About Hospital for Special Surgery

Founded in 1863, Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) is a world leader in orthopedics, rheumatology and rehabilitation. HSS is nationally ranked No. 1 in orthopedics, No. 3 in rheumatology and No. 7 in geriatrics by U.S.News & World Report (2014-15), and is the first hospital in New York State to receive Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Service from the American Nurses Credentialing Center three consecutive times. HSS has one of the lowest infection rates in the country. HSS is a member of the New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System and an affiliate of Weill Cornell Medical College and as such all Hospital for Special Surgery medical staff are faculty of Weill Cornell. The hospital's research division is internationally recognized as a leader in the investigation of musculoskeletal and autoimmune diseases. Hospital for Special Surgery is located in New York City and online at http://www.hss.edu.

Hospital for Special Surgery

Related Pain Articles from Brightsurf:

Pain researchers get a common language to describe pain
Pain researchers around the world have agreed to classify pain in the mouth, jaw and face according to the same system.

It's not just a pain in the head -- facial pain can be a symptom of headaches too
A new study finds that up to 10% of people with headaches also have facial pain.

New opioid speeds up recovery without increasing pain sensitivity or risk of chronic pain
A new type of non-addictive opioid developed by researchers at Tulane University and the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System accelerates recovery time from pain compared to morphine without increasing pain sensitivity, according to a new study published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation.

The insular cortex processes pain and drives learning from pain
Neuroscientists at EPFL have discovered an area of the brain, the insular cortex, that processes painful experiences and thereby drives learning from aversive events.

Pain, pain go away: new tools improve students' experience of school-based vaccines
Researchers at the University of Toronto and The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) have teamed up with educators, public health practitioners and grade seven students in Ontario to develop and implement a new approach to delivering school-based vaccines that improves student experience.

Pain sensitization increases risk of persistent knee pain
Becoming more sensitive to pain, or pain sensitization, is an important risk factor for developing persistent knee pain in osteoarthritis (OA), according to a new study by researchers from the Université de Montréal (UdeM) School of Rehabilitation and Hôpital Maisonneuve Rosemont Research Centre (CRHMR) in collaboration with researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM).

Becoming more sensitive to pain increases the risk of knee pain not going away
A new study by researchers in Montreal and Boston looks at the role that pain plays in osteoarthritis, a disease that affects over 300 million adults worldwide.

Pain disruption therapy treats source of chronic back pain
People with treatment-resistant back pain may get significant and lasting relief with dorsal root ganglion (DRG) stimulation therapy, an innovative treatment that short-circuits pain, suggests a study presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2018 annual meeting.

Sugar pills relieve pain for chronic pain patients
Someday doctors may prescribe sugar pills for certain chronic pain patients based on their brain anatomy and psychology.

Peripheral nerve block provides some with long-lasting pain relief for severe facial pain
A new study has shown that use of peripheral nerve blocks in the treatment of Trigeminal Neuralgia (TGN) may produce long-term pain relief.

Read More: Pain News and Pain Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.