Chronic pain is often defined as any pain lasting more than 12 weeks. Whereas acute pain is a normal sensation that alerts us to possible injury, chronic pain is very different. Chronic pain persists—often for months or even longer.
Chronic pain may arise from an initial injury, such as a back sprain, or there may be an ongoing cause, such as illness. However, there may also be no clear cause. Other health problems, such as fatigue, sleep disturbance, decreased appetite, and mood changes, often accompany chronic pain. Chronic pain may limit a person’s movements, which can reduce flexibility, strength, and stamina. This difficulty in carrying out important and enjoyable activities can lead to disability and despair.
- NIH Medicine Plus
Tai Chi can help build strength, relieve pain
(Reuters Health) - For people with chronic illnesses ranging from cancer to arthritis, Tai chi exercises may improve walking, build strength and reduce pain, according to a new analysis of past research.
The slow and gentle movements of Tai chi, a modified form of an ancient Chinese martial art, may be especially suitable for middle aged and older people with multiple health conditions, the authors write in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Better sleep and tai chi reduce inflammation and promote health
Science Daily, 5th Nov 2015
Inflammatory processes occur throughout the body, with a primary function of promoting healing after injury. However, when too active, these inflammatory processes can also damage the body in many ways, and may contribute to heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, and other significant medical problems.
Stress, including sleep disturbance, is a major contributor to inflammation in the body. Insomnia, one of the most common sleep disorders, is associated with increased risk for depression, medical comorbidities, and mortality.
Mind–Body interventions for chronic pain in older adults: a structured review
Natalia E. Morone MD, MSc1,* andCarol M. Greco PhD
Study Design. We conducted a structured review of eight mind–body interventions for older adults with chronic nonmalignant pain.
Objectives. To evaluate the feasibility, safety, and evidence for pain reduction in older adults with chronic nonmalignant pain in the following mind–body therapies: biofeedback, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, guided imagery, hypnosis, tai chi, qi gong, and yoga.
Methods. Relevant studies in the MEDLINE, PsycINFO, AMED, and CINAHL databases were located. A manual search of references from retrieved articles was also conducted. Of 381 articles retrieved through search strategies, 20 trials that included older adults with chronic pain were reviewed.
East Kent ICATS uses local instructors for chronic pain treatment
Taoist Internal Arts on the web
Tai Chi on the NHS
We have taught Tai Chi and related practices on the NHS since 1997. As far as we are aware we were the first to do so in the UK.
We began in the Pain Clinic at Kent & Canterbury Hospital. In 2007 we moved to the Integrated Clinical Assessment and Treatment Service (ICATS) and expanded to cover East Kent.
In the sixteen years that we have been teaching Tai Chi for Chronic pain in the NHS we have found it to be an effective way of helping to manage chronic illness. It has enabled many sufferers to reduce their medication while increasing their mobility and comfort. We have found that it also is effective at returning the confidence that is so often lost when suffering from chronic pain.