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Bone and joint diseases especially osteoarthritis of the knee among elderly persons are increasingly an important problem in the Thai health system. This research aimed to assess the effects of the “tai chi” exercise promotion program for relieving knee pain in elderly patients with osteoarthritis at the Thai Traditional and Integrated Medicine Hospital in Bangkok using the self-efficacy theory and a quasi-experimental, two-group pretest-posttest research design. The participants were 46 elderly patients with knee osteoarthritis at the Knee Osteoarthritis Clinic of the hospital, 23 each in the experimental and comparison groups. The study was carried out for 6 weeks. In the first week, the activities included providing information about knee osteoarthritis and tai chi exercise to enhance the experimental group’s
perceived self-efficacy; demonstration and practices of three tai chi exercise postures (Tawan Berkfah, Pai-ruea Klangnam and Mekkhala Lor-klaew) using a VDO media. In the second week, there were reviews of the three tai chi postures using live models selected from the group, opinion exchanges, encouragement and admiration. The activities in the third and fifth weeks included telephone stimulation, follow-up, questioning and experience sharing. The fourth week involved exercise evaluation and recommendations; and the sixth week included data collection using an interview form and an observation form. Data were collected using a questionnaire and an observation form; and then analyzed to determine mean and percentage and to perform independent t-test, chi-square test and paired sample t-test. The comparison group got a manual on tai chi exercise and received normal services provided by the hospital. The results showed that after the experimentation, the experimental group had significantly higher levels of knowledge, perceived self-efficacy, outcome-expectation of pain relief and tai chi exercise practices, compared with those in the comparison group (p < 0.001) and a significantly decreased level of knee pain (p < 0.001). Thus, the benefits of tai chi exercise for knee pain relief among elderly patients with knee osteoarthritis should be widely promoted.
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