Is Tai Chi beneficial for multisite pain syndrome in older adults?

Author: Tongjian You1, Suzanne G Leveille2, Gloria Y Yeh3,4,5, Peter M Wayne4,5
Affiliation: <sup>1</sup> Department of Exercise and Health Sciences, Robert and Donna Manning College of Nursing and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA, USA. <sup>2</sup> Department of Nursing, Robert and Donna Manning College of Nursing and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA, USA. <sup>3</sup> Division of General Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA. <sup>4</sup> Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, Brigham and Women&#x27;s Hospital, Boston, MA, USA. <sup>5</sup> Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
Conference/Journal: Aging Clin Exp Res
Date published: 2023 May 31
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1007/s40520-023-02439-2. , Word Count: 218

Chronic musculoskeletal pain is prevalent and undertreated in older adults. In particular, multisite pain is associated with serious functional consequences and falls and appears to be a novel geriatric syndrome. The causes of multisite pain are often multifactorial, and emerging evidence supports a complex pathway whereby multisite pain leads to cognitive problems, mobility decline, fear of falling, falls, and reduced participation in life roles. A few pharmacologic approaches are safe and effective for older adults with chronic multisite pain and evidence for effectiveness of non-pharmacologic treatments for this common condition is very limited. Compared to light physical exercise, mind-body exercise may prove to be more beneficial for older adults living with chronic pain. Tai Chi, as a movement-based mind-body exercise, can relieve pain symptoms, improve cognition and physical function, and lower risk for falls in older adults. However, little is known about the potential benefits of Tai Chi for older adults with multisite pain syndrome. Future large-scale randomized-controlled trials are needed to investigate the effectiveness of Tai Chi in alleviating pain and lowering fall risk in older adults with multisite pain, and the biological mechanisms that underlie its potential benefits to chronic pain, physical and cognitive functions, and falls in this at-risk population.

Keywords: Geriatric syndrome; Multisite pain; Older adults; Tai Chi.

PMID: 37256489 DOI: 10.1007/s40520-023-02439-2