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Synovium front cover

Issue 31 (Autumn 2010)

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Many journals have recently published themed issues on exercise, lifestyle and health, and now it is the turn of Synovium. We start with some depressing statistics listed in an editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.1 We are told that in the UK 95% of the adult population fail to partake in sufficient physical activity to benefit their health (as recommended in guidelines) and the health and social costs of this inactivity amount to £8.2billion, more than 5 times the cost of smoking and almost 3 times the cost of alcohol. We will leave others to lament the impact of physical inactivity on the prevalence of vascular, metabolic and other disorders and, as is our mission, shout ‘What about the joints? And indeed the spine?’ Physical inactivity is arguably the most important risk factor in the prevalence of back pain and osteoarthritis of the knee (two of the commonest musculoskeletal problems to present in primary care). High levels of physical activity are not only good prophylaxis against the ravages of degenerative musculoskeletal disorders but are also good treatments, as reported in a study from the Netherlands. So when, we ask, is the NHS going to get really serious about addressing physical inactivity? When will primary care be tasked with tackling, and effectively resourced to tackle, this immense public health problem? The QOF would seem like a very good place to start. We also report an interesting study that explores the ‘normality’ of joint pain in older people. Finally after a very quiet year we revisit Glucosamine Corner – where things have been interesting of late.

Adrian Dunbar, Medical Editor

1. Weiler R, Stamatakis E. Physical activity in the UK: a unique crossroad? Br J Sports Med 2010 Oct;44(13):912-4.

Physical activity reduces joint pain

A prospective study that followed 150 patients receiving exercise therapy for symptoms of osteoarthritis has shown that better adherence to the programme was associated with reduced pain, and better physical functioning and performance.

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Should healthy older people with joint pain consult their doctor?

Is joint pain in older people related to ‘wear and tear’ and a normal consequence of increased longevity? Or is it due to a ‘disease’ called osteoarthritis?

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The hazards of sitting

Taking the notion of the risks of inactivity up quite a few notches, an editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine proposes a new hazardous activity – sitting.

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Glucosamine Corner

We are always impressed with and somewhat curious about the attention research involving glucosamine and similar nutritional supplements receives. Both the studies cited here reached the national media.

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