Impact of educational level and employment status on short-term and long-term pain relief from supervised exercise therapy and education: an observational study of 22 588 patients with knee and hip osteoarthritis

Marianne Bakke Johnsen, Ewa Roos, Dorte Thalund Grønne, Lars Christian Haugli Bråten, Søren Thorgaard Skou

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Objectives To investigate the impact of educational level and employment status on change in pain intensity after treatment among patients with knee and hip osteoarthritis (OA).Design A prospective cohort study.Setting and participants We analysed 22 588 patients participating in the Good Life with osteoArthritis in Denmark (GLA:D). GLA:D consists of two patient education sessions and 12 supervised exercise sessions.Primary outcome Baseline educational level and employment status were used as exposures. We investigated the impact of both exposures separately on mean change in pain intensity (visual analogue scale 0–100 mm) from baseline to immediately after treatment (approximately 3 months) and at 12 months, using linear mixed models.Results On average, all patients improved in pain intensity. The average improvement in pain did not differ by educational level, except for one group. Patients with long-term education had less improvement after treatment (2.0 mm, 95% CI 0.8 to 3.1) and at 12 months (2.0 mm, 95% CI 0.6 to 3.4) compared with primary school only (reference). According to employment status, patients on sick leave had the greatest improvement in pain after treatment (−3.4, 95% CI −4.9 to −1.9) and at 12 months (−4.5, 95% CI −6.4 to −2.6) compared with retired patients (reference).Conclusions On average, all patients reported improvement in pain at short-term and long-term follow-up. Change in pain intensity did not substantially differ by educational level or employment status, as the absolute differences were small and most likely not clinically important.Data are available on reasonable request. Deidentified data used in this study are available from ER ( and STS ( on reasonable request. Data cannot be reused unless a collaboration agreement has been signed by both parties.
TidsskriftBMJ Open
Udgave nummer4
Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - 14. apr. 2021