Firstly, is chiropractic care appropriate for the elderly population? The answer is “YES”!
As a matter of fact chiropractic care includes many different techniques that are adapted to suit patients. In our clinic the techniques are modified to suite the elderly patient. The treatment is gentle and includes mobilisations, massage and dry needling which is a form of acupuncture. In addition there is also great emphasis on rehabilitation exercises.
The normal process of getting older
As we get older our joints start to slowly wear out. The amount that the joints wear varies greatly from one person to the other. The common symptoms of joint wear and tear (also known as Degeneration or Osteoarthritis) are stiffness and aching. However, sometimes the pain can be sharp and severe which can indicate a trapped nerve.
Not to mention there is no reason why an elderly person should live with pain. We can all get older gracefully with good quality of life. With the right combination of treatment techniques pain levels can be vastly reduced. Also movement levels can be greatly increased.
Aims of Chiropractic Care:
Increasing Range of Motion of the Spine and Extremities
Firstly, increasing a person’s range of motion can positively affect lives in many ways. For some, an increased range of motion means being able to bend down to pick up their grandchildren. For others, it means they can garden without pain for longer period of time, or increase the distance of their daily walk.
Improving Gait and Balance.
Secondly, Many problems in gait and balance in the elderly population have been shown to come from injury or degenerative changes to the cervical spine (neck region). There are structures known as mechanoreceptors that are located in the joints of the neck. They are responsible to provide the brain with essential information about the position of the head and limbs in space. The action of these receptors is important for maintaining good balance. Sometimes, with aging, the function of those mechanoreceptors becomes impaired. This then leads to loss of sense of body awareness (known as proprioception).
To compensate for the loss of proprioception in the legs, the feet are kept wider apart than usual. Steps become irregular and uneven in length. As impairment increases, the patient becomes unable to compensate. With severe loss of proprioception, the patient is unable to get up from a chair or rise after a fall without assistance.
Not to mention studies have shown that chiropractic care can help restore balance and improve gait by stimulating the joint receptors in the neck, which leads to improvements in balance.
Reducing the Incidence of Falling
Thirdly, Pain-related musculoskeletal disability may influence balance, gait and the ability to accomplish daily activities and therefore may contribute to fall risk. Because chronic musculoskeletal pain, such as that of osteoarthritis, is one factor affecting gait and balance in older people, chiropractic care may have an impact on fall prevention by treating joint pain and stiffness, increasing strength, flexibility, mobility, balance and coordination.
Improving quality of life and Well-Being
Lastly, Chiropractic care is more than just pain relief. We give our patient advice about nutrition, movement and light exercises. This can improve your sleep and give you more confidence. In addition this generally makes you feel better.
If you would like to know more about the care we give our elderly patient please do not hesitate to contact us.
Attached is a useful link from Age-UK for strength and balance training. The exercise instructions and advice presented in this link are for general information purposes only. This is in no way intended as a substitute for professional medical advice specific to any individual case. Please read carefully through the instructions.
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