Objectives: This paper aimed to systematically review and meta-analyze the effectiveness of Tai Chi for osteoarthritis of the knee.
Methods: MEDLINE, the Cochrane Library, EMBASE, Scopus, PsycInfo and CAMBASE were screened through April 2013. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing Tai Chi to control conditions were included. Two authors independently assessed risk of bias using the risk of bias tool recommended by the Cochrane Back Review Group. Outcome measures included pain, physical functional, joint stiffness, quality of life, and safety. For each outcome, standardized mean differences and 95% confidence intervals were calculated.
Results: 5 RCTs with a total of 252 patients were included. Four studies had a low risk of bias. Analysis showed moderate overall evidence for short-term effectiveness for pain, physical function, and stiffness. Strong evidence was found for short-term improvement of the physical component of quality of life. No long-term effects were observed. Tai Chi therapy was not associated with serious adverse events.
Conclusion: This systematic review found moderate evidence for short-term improvement of pain, physical function and stiffness in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee practicing Tai Chi. Assuming that Tai Chi is at least short-term effective and safe it might be preliminarily recommended as an adjuvant treatment for patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. More high quality RCTs are urgently needed to confirm these results.
Keywords: Complementary therapies; Meta-analysis; Osteoarthritis of the knee; Systematic review; Tai Chi.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.