The effect of Tai chi exercise on the symptoms of osteoarthritis Systematic review

Mona Nahayatbin, Mehri Ghasemi, Abbas Rahimi, Sedighe Sadat Naeimi, Seyed Mahdi Tabatabaeei



Background and Aim: Currently there is no cure for osteoarthritis. Conservative treatments such as drug therapy, various forms of physical therapy including heat, massage, electrotherapy, exercise therapy and surgical treatment are available. The purpose of this review was to comprehensively examine data from previous studies on Tai chi as an effective treatment for osteoarthritis patients.


Material & Methods: We searched PubMed, Scopus, ScienceDirect databases from 2003 to 2013. There were 13 studies that met our selection criteria: 10 RCTs and 3systematic reviews. These studies were about the effect of Tai chi on osteoarthritis, compare Tai chi versus control group and other routine treatments.


Results: Among 83 relevant studies, 10 studies were selected. Base on the type of intervention, the studies divided into two groups: 1.The studies that compared Tai chi versus routine physiotherapy treatments.2.The studies that compared Tai chi versus other interventions. These studies investigated the effect of Tai chi exercise on pain, physical function, stiffness of joints, muscle strength, measures of depression and self - efficacy in elderly patients with osteoarthritis.


Conclusion: This review shows that Tai Chi exercise significantly improves pain, physical function, stiffness of joints, balance, gait speed, and quality of life in patients with osteoarthritis at least in the short term and therefore is recommended as a safe sport, along with other treatments for patients with osteoarthritis.


Key words: Tai Chi, osteoarthritis, pain, physical function, balance and quality of life.

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