Pain is a symptom associated with just about every disease you can think of. There are different types of pain and different intensities of pain. Although it’s a symptom universally disliked by everyone, pain is often a just a warning that something is wrong. If you have stomach pain, maybe you’re eating a food you’re allergic to. If you have back pain, maybe you’re wearing the wrong shoes or sleeping on the wrong mattress. If you have headache pain, maybe your neck and should muscles have been tense for too long.
Sometimes, however, pain seems to settle in for good and there’s no apparent cause. This type of chronic pain is often associated with diseases like arthritis and fibromyalgia. It can be a real challenge to treat this type of pain when there is seemingly nothing you can do yourself to prevent it.
Well, here’s some good news if you find yourself in this predicament: give tai chi a try. A joint research team from Toronto Western Hospital, the University of Toronto and Mount Sinai Hospital, in Canada, recently looked at the health benefits of using tai chi to manage chronic pain.
The researchers noted that, in the last two decades, a growing body of research has been aimed at investigating the health benefits of tai chi in various chronic health conditions. So, they set out to review the history, philosophy, and the evidence for the role of tai chi in a few selected chronic pain conditions.
Trials examining the health benefit of tai chi in chronic pain conditions were mostly confined to five pain conditions: osteoarthritis; fibromyalgia; rheumatoid arthritis; low back pain; and headache. Of these five, the researchers found tai chi to be an effective intervention in osteoarthritis, low back pain, and fibromyalgia. They concluded that the ancient practice of tai chi contributes to chronic pain management in three major areas: adaptive exercise; mind-body interaction; and meditation.
If you’re suffering from chronic pain, why not give tai chi a try? It’s a low-cost treatment you can perform yourself. It’s meant to be gentle and the exercises are thought to have a cumulative effect: i.e. the longer you do them, the more beneficial they are likely to be when it comes to improving your health.
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