Tai Chi as Effective as Physical Therapy for Knee Osteoarthritis — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
May 17, 2016

Tai Chi as Effective as Physical Therapy for Knee Osteoarthritis

By Amy Orciari Herman

Edited by David G. Fairchild, MD, MPH

Tai Chi is at least as effective as physical therapy for treating knee osteoarthritis, according to a randomized trial in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Some 200 adults aged 40 or older with knee osteoarthritis were randomized to Tai Chi or physical therapy. Tai Chi included two group sessions weekly for 12 weeks, while physical therapy involved two outpatient sessions weekly for 6 weeks followed by continued home exercises for 6 weeks.

At 12 weeks, both groups saw significant reductions in a 500-point osteoarthritis index measuring pain (mean decreases of 167 points with Tai Chi and 143 with physical therapy); the difference between groups was not significant. The Tai Chi group had significantly greater improvements in depression and quality-of-life scores. In both groups, treatment effects persisted to 52 weeks.

The authors conclude that "standardized Tai Chi should be considered as an effective therapeutic option for knee osteoarthritis."

Reader Comments (1)

TUNG CHEZ Physician, Cardiology, New York

It has been demonstrated that Tai Chi Yang Style modified and simplify to make it easier for Westerners, improves functional capacity... but it is important to remember that as we know it improves knee osteoarthritis when practice correctly. But it is also well known that when done improperly it may worsen your knees.So practice correctly is important.

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