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Why is Chiropractic Care So Important For the Maturing Adult?

Chiropractic care is extremely important for the maturing and elderly adult because of the dramatic changes that occur in the spine with increasing age.

 
  Adults  
 

As we age, spinal discs, facet joints, ligaments, muscles and other spinal tissues become weaker, less hydrated, more fibrotic, and less able to withstand normal stresses. As a result, spinal pain from spinal degeneration (arthritis) becomes more prominent, tissue injury from relatively benign events occurs, and the time to heal from injuries increases.

Chiropractic procedures take into consideration the nature of the aging spine and the many abnormalities present to provide a strategically effective, safe and noninvasive treatment plan. Through the use of gentle adjustive and mobilization techniques, physical therapies, and incorporation of stretching and exercise programs spinal pain is reduced, spinal stresses are decreased, flexibility and mobility are improved, and degeneration is minimized.

Treatment techniques must focus on the underlying problem and involve participation of the patient in order to be truly effective and long lasting. Treatments which solely focus on pain and other "symptoms" only, are far less effective, and are often dangerous since the conditions causing the symptoms remain untreated and uncorrected.

What Benefits Does Chiropractic Care Provide For The Maturing Adult?

Routine chiropractic care has a number of benefits which are especially important for maturing adults:

  • spinal and extremity pain relief
  • decreased stiffness and muscular spasms
  • increased mobility and range of motion
  • increased balance and coordination
  • increased sense of well being
  • increased energy
  • enhanced tissue healing
  • decreased tissue inflammation
  • increased joint health
  • decreased arthritis and arthritic joint pain
  • minimized spinal stress and subsequent degeneration
  • minimized risk of fall injuries

Are There Any Studies Showing The Benefits of Chiropractic Care In The Aging?

A recent 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. The researchers found a number of significant findings which included:

87% of those who used chiropractic care rated their health as good or excellent compared with only 68% in the nonchiropractic group

13% of those who used chiropractic care rated their health as fair or poor compared with 32% in the nonchiropractic group

44% of those who used chiropractic care reported having arthritis compared with 66% in the nonchiropractic care group

Those who used chiropractic care were more likely to do strenuous levels of exercise

At 3 years follow-up, less than 5% of those who used chiropractic care used a nursing home while a staggering 48% of those who did not use chiropractic care did use a nursing home

At 3 years follow-up, only 26% of those who used chiropractic care were hospitalized compared with 48% of those in the nonchiropractic group

Chiropractic Increases Balance and Coordination

As we age, balance and coordination become increasingly impaired. Studies have shown that the receptors located in the joints of the upper cervical spine are largely responsible for providing the brain with essential information important for balance and coordination. Research has also shown that injury to these "neck" receptors is a significant cause of balance and coordination problems in humans.

According to Dr. Caranasos, MD:

Mechanoreceptors in cervical facet joints provide major input regarding the position of the head in relation to the body. With aging, mild defects impair mechanoreceptors function. Loss of proprioception can also involve the legs, especially with diabetes. With decreased proprioception, body positioning in space is impeded and the patient becomes reliant on vision to know the location of a limb. To compensate for the loss of proprioception in the legs, the feet are keep 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.

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.

Chiropractic Can Decrease Fall Injuries, as well as Other Injuries

Fall injuries are extremely prevalent in the elderly population and are one of the most detrimental events that can occur to the older individual. 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 past the age of 65.

Chiropractors reduce the risk of falls by (1) utilizing specific chiropractic adjustive techniques in the cervical spine to normalize cervical joint receptors which provide the brain with important balance and coordination information, (2) utilizing stretching and exercise programs to increase strength, flexibility, mobility, balance and coordination, and (3) utilizing diet and nutritional counseling to improve nutritional status, increase energy levels, and increase sense of well-being.

The above benefits also minimize other types of injuries as well as improve the outcome for injuries already sustained.

Chiropractic Increases Health and Well-Being

When you're free from nagging pain, stiff joints and can do the things you enjoy (golf, gardening, playing with the grandchildren, etc.) life is far more enjoyable. Feeling good, staying healthy and doing the things that make us happy are what keeps us looking forward to each new day.

Regular chiropractic care in those over the age of 40 is aimed at increasing the quality of life, and not just the elimination of pain and correction of soft tissue abnormalities. Don't cheat yourself from living life to its fullest... call today and let us get you started on a personalized health plan.

 


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