Tai chi improves pain in arthritis sufferers

June 1, 2009

The results of a new analysis have provided good evidence to suggest that Tai Chi is beneficial for arthritis. Specifically, it was shown to decrease pain with trends towards improving overall physical health, level of tension and satisfaction with health status.

Musculoskeletal , such as that experienced by people with arthritis, places a severe burden on the patient and community and is recognized as an international health priority. Exercise therapy including such as strengthening, stretching and aerobic programs, have been shown to be effective for arthritic pain. Tai Chi, is a form of exercise that is regularly practiced in to improve overall health and well-being. It is usually preformed in a group but is also practiced individually at one's leisure, which differs from traditional exercise therapy approaches used in the clinic.

Recently, a new study examined the effectiveness of Tai Chi in decreasing pain and disability and improving physical function and quality of life in people with chronic musculoskeletal pain. The study is published in the June issue of Arthritis Care & Research . Led by Amanda Hall of The George Institute in Sydney, Australia, researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis. They analyzed seven eligible randomized controlled trials that used Tai Chi as the main intervention for patients with musculoskeletal pain. The results demonstrate that Tai Chi improves pain and disability in patients suffering arthritis.

The authors state, "The fact that Tai Chi is inexpensive, convenient, and enjoyable and conveys other psychological and social benefits supports the use this type of intervention for pain conditions such as arthritis."

"It is of importance to note that the results reported in this systematic review are indicative of the effect of Tai Chi versus minimal intervention (usual health care or health education) or wait list control," the authors note. Establishing the specific effects of Tai Chi would require a placebo-controlled trial, which has not yet been undertaken.

More information: "The Effectiveness of Tai Chi for Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain Conditions: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis," Amanda Hall, Chris Maher, Jane Latimer, Manuela Ferreira, Care & Research, June 2009. http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/77005015/home

Source: Wiley (news : web)

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2 comments

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bredmond
not rated yet Jun 01, 2009
Does that include Paochui?
Nan2
not rated yet Jun 03, 2009
Perhaps another factor is group socialization in perception of disease status/improvement? Those doing this or any exercise with people who suffer from the same disease may provide help in coping skills as well as the exercise itself. This may well be a factor in pain perception as structured meditation provides relief and changes focus/outlooks.

Tai-Chi also helps cognition as it is a form of meditative exercise, improves balance and motor skills for arthritis and other progressive diseases with disabling impairments such as neurological conditions or permanent injury.

Structured exercise without overly rosy-expectation driven results provides an important path for increased quality of life of those who are significantly physically challenged. This perhaps also improves mental focus/attention, provides a diversion technique and allows interaction/ socialization helpful in coping with debilitating illnesses/diseases or significant injury.

A holistic approach in treating a person vs the illness as a solitary will produce better outcomes individually and perhaps even be rewarding in cost reductions related to health care.

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