Combining in-class and at-home tai chi is best for neck pain

A team of international researchers has aimed to explore the dose-response relationship for tai chi as a treatment for chronic neck pain. The study utilised data from 38 participants, who formed the tai chi arm of a randomised controlled trial, to investigate the relationship between home practice time, cumulative practice time (home practice + class time), pain intensity, anxiety and depression. The results indicated that cumulative tai chi practice time was associated with post-treatment reductions in neck pain intensity, while home practice time alone was not. Participants with low and moderate baseline anxiety tended to practise less than usual on weeks when pain intensity was worse, while those with high baseline anxiety tended to practise more. The findings suggested that a combination of class and at-home exposure to tai chi is crucial for reducing chronic nonspecific neck pain, and that anxiety may partially govern the dose-response relationship.

Investigating Inter- and Intra-individual Differences in Tai Chi Practice Time, Pain, and Mood Among Participants with Chronic Nonspecific Neck Pain: Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Controlled Trial. J Integr Complement Med. 2023 Apr;29(4):234-240