Ask Dr. Trupo of Cape Chiropractic. How do seniors benefit from chiropractic care?

- Private group -
January 13, 2013

Many seniors are unaware of the outstanding benefits that are possible through regular chiropractic care.

Pain Relief

Chiropractic care is one of the most effective and safest forms of health care available to treat pain due to back, neck and head problems. Doctors of chiropractic are specifically trained to identify and treat subluxations and their effect on the brain and spinal cord.

Increased Range of Motion

Seniors often experience decreased range of motion due to many causes. As we age, muscles become shorter and lose their elasticity. Additionally, aging can affect the structure of bones and muscles, causing pain and decreased range of motion in the shoulders, spine and hips. Decreased range of motion come from such causes as arthritis, Parkinson's disease, injuries from falls, car accidents or overuse from previous occupations, and increased muscle spasms or tone.

Why is increased range of motion something seniors want? No matter what activity you participate in, your range of motion matters. Do you want to bend over to pick up your grandchildren? You can do it better with increased range of motion. Do you want to kneel while gardening? Increased range of motion can make this easier. Do you want to swing your golf club with more strength? Increasing your range of motion will help. Whatever you do in life, increased range of motion will help you do it better.

Increased Balance and Coordination

Balance and coordination in seniors often come from injury or degenerative changes to the neck region. Mechanoreceptors are located in the back joints of the neck and are responsible for providing the brain with information needed for balance and coordination by telling the brain where the head is in relation to the body.

Aging causes minor deficiencies in the mechanoreceptors’ function and results in loss of body awareness. Then instead of using mechanoreceptors, a person is left to use vision to determine where they are in space.

To compensate for the loss of awareness of the location of the legs in space, the feet are kept wider apart than normal, causing an unusual gait. As impairment to mechanoreceptors increase, compensation becomes harder and harder until finally, the senior is unable to get up from a chair or rise from a fall. Chiropractic stimulates the mechanoreceptors, leading to better balance and coordination.

Decreased Joint and Tissue Degeneration

When your spine has a subluxation, problems occur. Think of a subluxation like a misalignment of the tires on your car. Having your tires misaligned means that they will wear out faster and usually wear away more in some areas than others. The same is true with a misaligned spine. Having subluxations means that your spine will wear out faster.

Focusing on the mechanical principles of your body reduces spinal stress. This decreases spinal degeneration and other changes.

Increased Health and Well-Being

Once you are out of pain due to your chiropractic plan, what will you notice? You will notice that you feel great, sleep through the night, have more energy and simply can enjoy all the activities of the past.

 In general, you will feel that your life is definitely worth living. Regular chiropractic care increases the quality of life and increases health and well-being. Chiropractic care for those over 65 is aimed at quality of life. The point is to not only eliminate pain and correct soft tissue abnormalities, but get you back to your active lifestyle again. Why should you have to stop jogging, dancing or golfing simply because you’ve become a senior? With chiropractic, you don’t have to!

Decreased Incidence of Falling

A big problem in the elderly population is injuries due to falls. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are responsible for 90% of the 850,000 bone fractures which occur annually among Americans over the age of 65. Chiropractors can reduce the risk of falls.

As mentioned earlier with balance, mechanoreceptors begin to malfunction as a person ages. Regular adjustments keep these receptors in proper working order, thus helping a senior maintain balance. Good balance will reduce falls. Additionally, chiropractors often prescribe stretching and exercise programs to increase strength, flexibility, mobility, balance and coordination.

Keeps Seniors Out of Nursing Homes

Dr. Coulter, the president of the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, published a study in 1996. The study evaluated the health status of 414 elderly individuals (average age of 80 years) and compared those individuals under chiropractic care with those not under chiropractic care. Some key points in the study were:

  • At three years follow-up, less than 5% of those who used chiropractic care lived in a nursing home while 48% of those who did not use chiropractic care lived in a nursing home.
  • At three years follow-up, only 26% of those who used chiropractic care were hospitalized compared with 48% of those in the non-chiropractic group.

Remaining at home, rather than having to be cared for by others, is a valid goal of any medical procedure when dealing with seniors. Chiropractic is a great way to get this accomplished.

Decreases Arthritis

Arthritis literally means joint inflammation. Arthritis causes pain, loss of movement and sometimes swelling.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis in the senior population. It starts when tissue, called cartilage, begins to wear away causing your bones to rub against each other. OA most often happens in your hands, neck, lower back or the large weight-bearing joints of your body, such as knees and hips.

Over time, OA can make it hard to move your joints. It can cause a disability if your back, knees or hips are affected.

 Determining the cause of arthritis can be difficult, because often several factors contribute to an individual developing this common problem. Some of the risk factors that can cause arthritis include:

  • Genetics
  • Age
  • Weight
  • Previous Injury
  • Occupational Hazards
  • Some High-Level Sports
  • Illness or Infection

Although there is no one cause for arthritis, growing older often puts you at risk. This is because your joints and the cartilage around them become less able to recover from stress and damage.

Spinal discs need nutrition and proper waste elimination to heal properly. This happens through joint movement. Without enough movement, nutrients and waste do not move properly. A chiropractic plan for arthritis would involve restoring joint motion to keep the joints healthy and minimize degenerative joint changes.