Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to know the benefit of Tai Chi for osteoarthritis knee pain in elders with and without mild dementia.
Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to know the research method that can be used to test the effect of Tai Chi on osteoarthritis knee pain.
Methods: Elders in each site were randomly assigned to participate in the TC program (N=28) or an activity program (N=27). Elders' verbal report of pain, use of pain medication and pain behaviors were assessed. The intent to treat principle was used to analyze the results.
Results: Results indicated that for 4 out of 5 pain variables [3-day average Western Ontario and McMaster (WOMAC) OA Index pain score, observation of pain behaviors, monthly average daily Verbal Descriptor Scale (VDS) score, and monthly average daily analgesic dosage] trajectories over time significantly differed between the two groups (p= 0.021- 0.048). Over the 5 months, the 3-day average WOMAC pain score dropped 2.60 (37% reduction) in the TC group, while the score for the activity group dropped 1.03 (14% reduction). The number of pain behaviors dropped .96 (21% reduction) in the TC group, while the number in the activity group increased 1.63 (33% increase) over the 5 months. The activity group’s monthly average VDS score and analgesic dosage remained constant over time (p=ns). However, the monthly average VDS score dropped .33 (25% reduction) and the daily analgesic dosage dropped 223 mg (17% reduction) in the TC group.
Conclusion: The study results indicate that Tai Chi is effective in reducing OA knee pain in elders with mild CI.