Cornell Researchers Confirm Self-management Strategies,
Including Tai Chi, Effective for Older Adults with Chronic Pain
2008 - Self-management strategies for pain hold substantial promise as a means
of reducing pain and improving function among older adults with chronic pain,
but their use in this age group has not been well defined.
address this issue, several researchers from the Medical College of Cornell
University reviewed the evidence regarding self-management interventions for
pain due to musculoskeletal disorders among older adults. They searched through
such prominent medical information database as Medline and Allied Health
Literature databases and identified 27 relevant articles.
articles evaluated programs including yoga, massage therapy, Tai Chi, and music
therapy. Positive outcomes were found in 96% of the studies. Proportionate
change in pain scores ranged from an increase of 18% to a reduction of 85% (the
median is 23% reduction), whereas change in disability scores ranged from an
increase of 2% to a reduction of 70% (the median is 19% reduction). But they
generally included limited enrollment of ethnic minority elders, as well as
non-ethnic elders aged 80 and above.
researchers concluded that a broad range of self-management programs may
provide benefits for older adults with chronic pain, but research is needed to
establish the efficacy of the programs in diverse age and ethnic groups of
older adults and identify strategies that maximize program reach, retention,
and methods to ensure continued use of the strategies over time.
article is published in the March 2008 issue of Pain Medicine.