Purpose: Although studies on the improvement of pain after exercise are increasingly diverse, whether Tai Chi Quan can improve the pressure pain thresholds remains unknown. This study was to observe the effect of Tai Chi Quan on the pressure pain thresholds of lower back muscles in healthy women.
Patients and methods: This was a randomized controlled trial. Sixty healthy women aged 18-40 years were randomly assigned to Tai Chi group or control group. The Tai Chi group received 40-minute practice, and the control group received 5-minute sham Tai Chi Quan practice and 35-minute rest. The pressure pain thresholds of the longissimus thoracis, iliocostalis lumborum, multifidus muscle, quadratus lumborum, gluteus medius and supraspinous ligament were assessed before and immediately after intervention.
Results: The pressure pain thresholds of test points in the Tai Chi group showed substantial improvements after exercise, whereas those in the control group did not improve. Overall, the pressure pain thresholds in the Tai Chi group significantly increased compared with the control group (longissimus thoracis: p = 0.000, iliocostalis lumborum: p = 0.000, multifidus muscle: p = 0.000, quadratus lumborum: p = 0.012, gluteus medius: p = 0.000 and supraspinous ligament: p = 0.000).
Conclusion: Forty minutes of Tai Chi Quan exercise remarkably increased the pressure pain thresholds of lower back muscles in healthy women, and thresholds at by an these points increased average of 17.2%.