Chiropractic care is a suitable complementary healthcare option for people of all ages, including older individuals. The safe, gentle and effective techniques along with the comprehensive head-to-toe approach used by many practitioners makes chiropractic the perfect profession to address seniors’ musculoskeletal health problems. A 2012 study published in the journal Chiropractic & Manual Therapies agree, stating that chiropractors can play an important role in managing older adults’ health conditions. The role of chiropractic care for seniors extends beyond relief of aches and pains to influence key quality of life issues that almost every senior faces at some point. As our population ages, chiropractic will be there to provide quality care and support to our seniors and to ensure their best possible quality of life.
Reduced Pain or Discomfort
Reduced pain or discomfort is one of several important health benefits chiropractic care offers seniors. Pain in the spine and its surrounding sort tissues, or elsewhere throughout the body, is an unfortunate (though not necessarily inevitable) daily experience for many seniors. According to a 2011 study published in the journal Rheumatology, the risk of disabling back pain rises in older age, and seniors who have had a previous bout of back pain or who report poor self-rated health may have a greater risk of experiencing future back pain.
Chiropractic care, through the use of various manual techniques, provides seniors with a safe and effective way to treat or prevent pain in the spine elsewhere throughout the body, and it helps bolster general health in this group, too.
Increased Range of Motion
Reduced range of motion in the spine and extremities is common among seniors and, for many, has a direct effect on the ability to perform activities of daily living, including gardening, playing with grandchildren or performing other cherished hobbies. Chiropractic care- joint manipulation or mobilization, soft tissue work, functional exercise prescription- may help improve joint range of motion, flexibility and mobility in the elderly and help seniors better perform their activities of daily living.
Improved Balance & Coordination
Improving balance and coordination in seniors is a major goal for all chiropractors. Boosting a senior’s balance and coordination can help reduce his or her risk of falling and give him or her the confidence needed to pursue a variety of physical activities that can enhance quality of life. According to a 2008 study published in the journal Clinical Chiropractic, the optimal approach to fall prevention in seniors involves improving joint mobility, patient mobility, and addressing the fear, depression and inactivity that may lead to falling. All these approaches are commonly used by chiropractors with older adult patients for this very purpose. Chiropractic care may help give seniors a better sense of body awareness as well as the confidence needed to prevent falls and live more fully.
Enhanced Sense of Well-Being & Independence
One of chiropractic’s greatest gifts to seniors is an enhanced sense of well-being and the ability to continue living an independent life for as long as possible. The ability of an older individual to remain healthy and independent can significantly affect his or her perceived quality of life, happiness and sense of well-being as well as reduce the costs associated with assisted living. Chiropractors work with seniors to improve musculoskeletal function so that these individuals can continue living active and full lives. Chiropractors may be the best positioned of all healthcare providers to ensure continued independence in seniors, due to the hands-on nature of the profession and the strong doctor-patient relationships in which health and lifestyle recommendations are comfortably and effectively discussed.