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Mindful exercises for knee osteoarthritis

Are they effective as an adjuvant therapy for knee osteoarthritis in older people?

Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is a very common condition among people over 60 years old. It is a degenerative joint illness which can lead to pain, limited range of motion, disability, poor balance and an increased risk of falling.

Considering the financial and physical burden of knee OA in older adults, research has focused on various aspects such as passive treatments, physical exercises, self-management or coping strategies.

Among them, Baduanjin (BD) is a mind-body approach originating from China and part of the traditional Chinese medicine. Its purposes are to make the body stronger and increase life expectancy. It is based on eight slow stretching choreographed movements combined with breathing, mental focus and meditation.

This intervention has been used as a treatment of several conditions such as psychiatric disorders, diabetes, hypertension or Parkinson’s disease. More recent studies highlighted positive effects of BD on pain, stiffness, physical function and postural control. The latter is negatively affected in older people suffering from knee OA and leading to loss of quadriceps strength, pain and proprioception deficit.

The current study investigated the effects of BD on postural stability and related symptoms of knee OA in older patients and found that such an adjuvant therapy appears to be effective in this context.

 
 

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