Developing a qigong intervention and an exercise therapy for elderly patients with chronic neck pain and the study protocol

Forsch Komplementmed. 2008 Aug;15(4):195-202. doi: 10.1159/000148211. Epub 2008 Aug 15.


Background: In the so far published trials on qigong and exercise therapies, the methods and especially the interventions applied are rarely described in detail. Therefore, we report on the development of the interventions, the study design and protocols of a randomised controlled multi-centre trial.

Objective: The aim of the study was to develop a qigong intervention and an exercise therapy for elderly patients and to evaluate whether qigong is more effective than (1) no treatment or (2) the exercise therapy. DEVELOPMENT OF THE INTERVENTIONS: In a consensus process with qigong experts and physiotherapists special interventions for elderly patients were developed allowing most exercises to be performed in a sitting position. Both interventions will be held by qualified therapists for a period of 3 months twice per week for 45 min. In addition, patients will be encouraged to exercise on their own.

Study protocol: In a randomised controlled multi-centre study with 3 groups and a total follow-up time of 6 months, 120 patients from 4 residences for elderly people in Berlin (age >or= 55 years) with chronic neck pain should be included.

Main outcome measure: Average pain intensity of the past 7 days measured by a visual analogue scale (VAS). Secondary parameters are neck pain and disability (Neck Pain and Disability Scale, NPAD), depression (General Depression Scale, ADS) and health-related quality of life (SF-36).

Implications: The results of this study may help clarify, if qigong is a feasible, safe and effective intervention for elderly people with neck pain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breathing Exercises*
  • Chronic Disease / therapy
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Pain / therapy*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / methods*