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Realistic Activity Goals Seem to Ease Arthritis Pain, Study Finds

THURSDAY, Aug. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Rheumatoid arthritis patients who believe in their ability to achieve physical activity goals -- called self-efficacy -- are more likely to reach those objectives, researchers have found.

The investigators also found that patients who achieve their physical activity goals have lower levels of arthritis pain and a higher quality of life.

Researchers in the Netherlands conducted an initial assessment of the physical activity levels, motivation, self-efficacy for physical activity, levels of arthritis pain and quality of life of 106 rheumatoid arthritis patients.

When the assessment was repeated six months later, 75 percent of the patients rated their physical activity goal achievement at 50 percent or more. Those with higher levels of self-efficacy for physical activity were more likely to achieve their physical activity goals, the study authors noted.

In addition, the patients who reached their physical activity goals reported less arthritis pain and a better quality of life, according to the study published in the Aug. 25 online edition of the journal Arthritis Care & Research.

"Our results suggest that an increased focus on self-efficacy enhancement, realistic goal-setting, and techniques that increase the likelihood of goal achievement will assist clinicians and researchers to develop interventions that have a positive impact on pain reduction and quality of life outcomes for rheumatoid arthritis patients," study author Keegan Knittle, of Leiden University, said in a journal news release.

More information

The Arthritis Foundation has more about exercise and arthritis.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Arthritis Care & Research, news release, Aug. 25, 2011

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