Table 1

Inclusion and exclusion criteria for the TAI CHI study

Inclusion criteria


18 to 70 years


Non-specific low back pain +/- leg pain.

Pain duration

At least 3 months duration.

Pain qualifier

A score of "moderate" or higher on item 7 or 8 of the SF-36.

Usual health care

Current health care regimen stable for at least 4 weeks and individual agrees not to seek changes to health care regimen during the 10 week trial.


English speaking and English literate.

Residential status

Expects to continue residing in Sydney for study duration.

Exclusion criteria


Suspected or confirmed serious spinal pathology (fracture, metastatic, inflammatory or infective diseases of the spine, cauda equina syndrome/widespread neurological disorder).

Nerve root compromise (2 of strength, reflex or sensation affected for same nerve root)

Past medical procedures

Spinal surgery

Current medical status

Scheduled for major surgery during treatment


Suspected or confirmed pregnancy


Any of the contraindications to exercise listed on the PAR-Q

Work status

If participant's back pain is compensable, all relevant treatment parties need to agree to Tai Chi treatment.


Unable to speak, read and write English.

Previous tai chi experience

Participation in a tai chi program within the last 6 months.

Temporary exclusion criteria

Current health care

If participant has started a new treatment/intervention for their back symptoms within 4 weeks prior to eligibility assessment, the individual is temporarily excluded from participating in the study. The individual will be advised that once the new course of treatment has either finished or has become part of their regular health care routine for more than 4 weeks, and they are still experiencing low back pain symptoms they can contact the project leaders again to participate in the trial.

Hall et al. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2009 10:55   doi:10.1186/1471-2474-10-55

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