The effects of Tai Chi on physical function and safety in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Author: Haiyang Wu1, Qiang Wang2, Guowei Wen1, Junhao Wu1, Yiru Wang3
1 Huangpu Branch, Shanghai Ninth People's Hospital affiliated to Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai, China.
2 Shanghai Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)-Integrated Hospital, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, China.
3 Longhua Hospital, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, China.
Conference/Journal: Front Physiol
Date published: 2023 Jan 26
Other: Volume ID: 14 , Pages: 1079841 , Special Notes: doi: 10.3389/fphys.2023.1079841. , Word Count: 225

Background: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, systemic, inflammatory autoimmune disease that results in the destruction of joints, connective tissues, muscle, tendons and fibrous tissue. Until now, there are no cure therapies. Objective: We aimed to assess the effectiveness of Tai Chi (TC) on RA patients by meta-analysis. Methods: The PubMed, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, web of science, China National Knowledge Infrastructure and Google Scholar were searched up to January 2023. We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) or controlled clinical trials (CCTs) comparing TC to control conditions for RA patients. Review Manager (Version 5.3) software was used to analyze outcomes of time to walk 50 feet, joint tenderness, number of swollen joints or tender joints, handgrip strength, pain, the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) and withdraws overall. Results: A total of 351 patients with RA from six RCTs and three CCTs were included for meta-analysis. TC could also significantly decrease withdrawals overall in studies (OR = 0.28, 95% CI 0.12 to 0.67, p = 0.002). No significant treatment effects of physical function were identified of the other outcomes. Conclusion: Our findings indicated that TC was safe to RA patients, but it cannot improve physical function and pain. However, there is still lack of more evidence. Systematic Review Registration: [], identifier [CRD42022367498].

Keywords: arthritis; health assessment questionnaire; joint tenderness; pain; physical exercise; swollen joints.

PMID: 36776976 PMCID: PMC9909273 DOI: 10.3389/fphys.2023.1079841