Management of Geriatric Low Back Pain with Tai Chi


  • Kristine M. Hallisy Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, University of WI-Madison, United States



Introduction: Chronic low back pain (cLBP) among older adults is a complex, biopsychosocial condition that despite research efforts and innovative interventions remains a prevalent, disabling and costly condition. This case highlights the use of tai chi (TC) for persistent geriatric LBP.

Case Presentation: A 68-year-old Caucasian female with cLBP, neuromuscular imbalances, leg weakness and fall risk was treated with a walking program (aerobic), manual therapy (mobility), lumbar stabilization (strength) and group TC class (neuromuscular function).

Discussion: Research validates TC for a variety of older adult health conditions, but few studies demonstrated effectiveness for cLBP. This case outlines the use of a simplified Yang-style TC for management of persistent geriatric LBP.

Conclusion: The addition of group TC to standard treatment for cLBP resulted in improved functional outcomes, decreased pain ratings and improved leg strength, flexibility and balance as compared to standard treatment for cLBP. Following the group TC class the client reported significant self-perception of recovery, and these functional and confidence gains eliminated the need for physiotherapy services for cLBP for three subsequent years. 


Persistent low back pain;Tai chi;Biopsychosocial


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How to Cite

Hallisy, K. M. (2020). Management of Geriatric Low Back Pain with Tai Chi. Journal of Geriatric Medicine, 2(2), 31–38.


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