Tai Chi may help reduce chronic back pain in older people

In a new study, researchers found that Tai Chi could improve chronic low back pain in adults over 65 years of age compared to health education and usual care.

The research was conducted by a team at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute and elsewhere.

Tai Chi has been shown effective for improving chronic back pain yet with little attention to older adults.

In the study, the team focused only on adults older than 65.

Participants were randomly assigned to 12 weeks of Tai Chi, a 12-week health education intervention, or usual care.

Measures of recruitment and retention contributed to the determination of feasibility.

The findings showed that the study was feasible and had acceptable recruitment, few dropouts, and an excellent safety profile.

Among the Tai Chi participants, 62% attended at least 70% of the classes during the 12-week intervention period.

Remarkably, at 52 weeks, 70% of Tai Chi participants reported having practiced the week before, with a median of 3 days per week and 15 minutes/session.

Both participation and perception of helpfulness were lower in the health education group.

The team says more research is needed on treatments for chronic low back pain in older adults.

The study showed that it’s feasible to do a clinical trial of Tai Chi for this health condition.

One author of the study is Karen Sherman, Ph.D.

The study is published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

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