Yes, chiropractic patients can enjoy life longer! As a chiropractor, one of the greatest things for me is to see wonderful people regain their health, sometimes even after years of pain and suffering. Unfortunately, what I am increasingly aware of is that many families are still in the dark as to the outstanding benefits that are possible for seniors through regular chiropractic care.
With this in mind, I have compiled a list of eight of the most frequent benefits experienced by the seniors that attend our clinic.
1. Pain Relief
Chiropractic care is one of the most effective and safest forms of health care for treating pain due to spinal related conditions. Chiropractic is so effective because most causes of spinal disorders are related to abnormalities of the spine and the surrounding soft tissue structures.
Doctors of Chiropractic are specifically trained to identify and treat subluxations (misalignments of the vertebrae) and their subsequent effect on the central nervous system. As subluxations are corrected and the body starts to heal, tremendous benefits are commonly experienced, one of which is a reduction in pain. Anti-inflammatory medication and pain relievers however, merely mask the symptoms and have many undesirable side effects.
2. Increased Range of Motion of the Spine and Extremities
Chiropractic care has been shown repeatedly to increase not only the range of motion of the spine but also in the extremities.
Increasing or restoring an elderly person’s range of motion can positively affect their life in many ways. It may be that it allows them to bend down to pick up their grandchildren, or perhaps they can garden without pain or participate in their favorite sport for longer. In many cases, improved movement immediately follows chiropractic adjustments. This is one of the reasons why many top professional sporting teams have team chiropractors.
3. Better posture equals better health.
Yes, it turns out “stand up straight” isn’t just good advice from your mother. Indeed, aging experts increasingly believe that posture is, in most cases, an indicator of how well you will age. The evidence is overwhelming.
Those who stoop, adopt a forward head posture, and slouch all the time, tend to age worse than those who maintain an elegant upright posture. They stiffen, lose their alignment and as a result suffer much greater wear and tear (arthritis). And even worse still, because of the relationship between the spine and the central nervous system, those who develop poor posture will nearly always lose their health. How much health they lose depends on the degree to which their nervous system becomes stressed.
4. Increased Balance and Coordination
Balance and coordination problems plague the aging population and have been shown to very often come from injury or degenerative changes to the cervical spine or neck. In the neck there are many mechanoreceptors, which monitor the position of the head in relation to the body, and send the information to the brain. With aging and stiffness, the loss of movement results in restricted information coming from the neck. This loss of proprioception (sense of body awareness) results in an impaired awareness of body position and an increasing reliance on vision for balance.
To compensate for this loss of proprioception (sense of body awareness) in the legs, the feet are kept wider apart than usual. Steps become irregular and uneven in length. As impairment increases, it becomes more and more difficult to compensate. With severe loss of proprioception, the patient is unable to get up from a chair or rise after a fall without assistance.
Studies have shown that chiropractic care can help restore balance and coordination by stimulating the joint receptors (mechanoreceptors) in the cervical spine. This stimulation is thought to restore or normalize joint receptor functioning which leads to improvements in balance and coordination. (Caranasos, MD, Isreal, MD. Gait Disorders in the Elderly. Hospital Practice. 1991; June 15:67-94.Guyton, MD. Textbook of Medical Physiology. 9th edition. WB Saunders, Philadelphia 1996; 714.)
5. Decreased Joint Degeneration
A subluxated or misaligned spine, just like a car wheel out of alignment, will be subject to increased rates of wear and tear or degeneration. Eventually it will certainly wear out prematurely. Since all moving parts will eventually wear down over time, it is very important to get your spine aligned periodically. Chiropractic care decreases spinal degeneration and other arthritic changes by normalizing the spinal alignment and reducing spinal stress.
6. Increased Health and Well-Being
We commonly ask our patients what changes they notice once they are out of pain. Here are some regular responses we hear every day:
“I feel great! I can sleep through the night!”
“Now I can play with my grandchildren again!”
“I have so much energy!”
“Life is worth living now!”
Yes, chiropractic is far more than mere pain relief. Feeling good, staying healthy and doing the things that make us happy are what keeps us looking forward to each new day. With regular chiropractic care you can expect the improved quality of life that accompanies an increase in health and well being.
7. Decreased Incidence of Falling
Injuries due to falling are extremely common in the elderly population. 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 reduce the risk of falls by normalizing the mechanoreceptors of the cervical spine, thereby improving balance. They also prescribe stretching and exercise programs to increase strength, flexibility, mobility, balance and coordination.
8. Keeps Seniors Out of Nursing Homes
Dr. Ian Coulter from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College was involved with many research projects studying the benefits of chiropractic care and exercise. In 1996, he published an interesting study in the Journal, “Topics of Clinical Chiropractic” called “Chiropractic care for the Elderly.”
The key points he noted in this study were:
• 44% of those who used chiropractic care reported having arthritis compared with 66% in the non-chiropractic care group.
• Those who used chiropractic care were more likely to do strenuous levels of exercise.
• At three years follow-up, less than 5% of those who used chiropractic care lived in a nursing home while a staggering 48% of those who did not use chiropractic care did live in a nursing home.
• At three years follow-up, only 26% of those who used chiropractic care had been hospitalized compared with 48% of those in the non-chiropractic group.
In Summary – There is no need for seniors to suffer needlessly. Chiropractic provides amazing benefits and has an outstanding record of safety and effectiveness. Empirical evidence shows us that we can save ourselves and our loved ones from decades of pain and suffering by implementing a simple healthy regime whereby we maintain our structural balance and function.
At Total Health Chiropractic we are adept at helping our clients to age in a kinder way. It is a major focus of ours and many, many wonderful seniors are now living much fuller, vibrant lives, free from the worries and pain that troubled their lives before.
Don’t just take our word for it! Here are some testimonials from our office.
“I came to Total Health Chiropractic because I had a droopy left eyelid and this was making me very miserable. I now feel that my overall wellness has improved. I have less irritability and have reduced my medication. Thank you. I really appreciate all the attention I get when I am in the clinic”.
“I was taken to Total Health Chiropractic by my daughter due to my lower back pain. In just one month, the pain had reduced so much. It was a wonderful feeling and Dr Tim Errington told me the root cause of my problem. I am now so much more mobile and it is easier to go up and down the stairs. I am able to walk longer distances without pain, have better sleep and my body alignment and flexibility has improved. Thank you”.