A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of the Effects of Chair Yoga on Pain and Physical Function Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults With Lower Extremity Osteoarthritis.

Authors: Park J, McCaffrey R, Newman D, Liehr P, Ouslander JG


J Am Geriatr Soc. 2017 Mar;65(3):592-597

OBJECTIVES: To determine effects of Sit 'N' Fit Chair Yoga, compared to a Health Education program (HEP), on pain and physical function in older adults with lower extremity osteoarthritis (OA) who could not participate in standing exercise.
DESIGN: Two-arm randomized controlled trial.
SETTING: One HUD senior housing facility and one day senior center in south Florida.
PARTICIPANTS: Community-dwelling older adults (N = 131) were randomly assigned to chair yoga (n = 66) or HEP (n = 65). Thirteen dropped after assignment but prior to the intervention; six dropped during the intervention; 106 of 112 completed at least 12 of 16 sessions (95% retention rate).
INTERVENTIONS: Participants attended either chair yoga or HEP. Both interventions consisted of twice-weekly 45-minute sessions for 8 weeks.
MEASUREMENTS: Primary: pain, pain interference; secondary: balance, gait speed, fatigue, functional ability measured at baseline, after 4 weeks of intervention, at the end of the 8-week intervention, and post-intervention (1 and 3 months).
RESULTS: The chair yoga group showed greater reduction in pain interference during the intervention (P = .01), sustained through 3 months (P = .022). WOMAC pain (P = .048), gait speed (P = .024), and fatigue (P = .037) were improved in the yoga group during the intervention (P = .048) but improvements were not sustained post intervention. Chair yoga had no effect on balance.
CONCLUSION: An 8-week chair yoga program was associated with reduction in pain, pain interference, and fatigue, and improvement in gait speed, but only the effects on pain interference were sustained 3 months post intervention. Chair yoga should be further explored as a nonpharmacologic intervention for older people with OA in the lower extremities.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT02113410.



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