The New England Journal of Medicine recently published a study on the effects of tai chi on patients with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a condition where a patient has chronic pain in the muscles or tendons. This pain is usually wide spread and will also lead to overall fatigue and various tender points on the body. Most patients feel hurt all over but their doctor cannot find a specific cause for the pain. The cause for this condition is unknown but it can be a result of an infection, emotional or physical trauma, or genetics. There is no cure for fibromyalgia and most treatment regimes involve medication to alleviate some of the pain. It has been recently suggested that patients that incorporate tai chi into their exercise routine will naturally reduce the severity of the pain.
66 fibromyalgia patients were included in the study. This group was divided in half where one group did tai chi for twelve weeks and the other group exercised traditionally with an emphasis in stretching. These workouts occurred twice a week and took sixty minutes each. The severity of symptoms and pain was rated on a scale from one to one-hundred. The patient’s scores were continuously monitored and at the end of the twelve week study the results were analyzed.
Both groups that participated in exercise had reduced the severity of their symptom pain. This was excellent news because physicians have been recommending exercise to patients with this chronic pain condition. What was even more interesting was how well the tai chi group did in comparison to general exercise. On average a tai chi participant had a lower score by 18.1 points. On a 100 point scale this means a reduction over approximately 18% from doing tai chi as opposed to traditional exercises.
The thirty-three members of the tai chi group reported overall improvements in mood, quality of sleep, quality of life, less pain, and an increase in their exercise capacity. It appears that the addition of tai chi into an exercise regime of a patient with fibromyalgia will provide many benefits. Their overall quality of life of patients will increase which is relieving news to those who suffer from the condition.
These results will be continuously monitored and the study will be replicated. Replication is important to ensure the same results are possible with a different group of people. Monitoring the initial study patients will allow researchers to look at the long term benefits of the exercise. The New England Journal of Medicine concluded that tai chi may be a useful treatment for patients with fibromyalgia.
The New England Journal of Medicine
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