People of all ages and walks of life can benefit from chiropractic treatment. One group that’s been popping up in demographic studies involving chiropractic care is older adults. An estimated 14% of chiropractic patients are 65 years and older, and the most common reason they seek treatment is for musculoskeletal pain, lower back pain in particular.
As you may know, one of the keys to staying mentally and physically healthy as you get older is staying active. Older adults benefit further if they are able to keep engaging in physical activity, even lightly. However, certain medical conditions can make it difficult for the over-65 population to stay mobile, especially joint or spine-related issues.
Fortunately, recent research from the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics indicates that regular chiropractic care may be helpful for seniors with spine-related issues. Researchers found that individuals 65 and over who engaged in some type of chiropractic care had less difficulty in activities like walking, fewer functional limitations, and a lower overall number of doctor’s visits and hospitalizations.
In a 2014 study published in Spine Journal, it was shown that chiropractic is also helpful for treating neck pain in older adults. Researchers studied 241 individuals over age 65 suffering from chronic neck pain and split them into 3 groups: one group received chiropractic adjustments along with home exercises, the next group had supervised exercises and home exercises, and the last group simply had home exercises.
At the end of the 12-week study, 60% of patients in the chiropractic group saw a 75% improvement in pain. The other groups’ outcomes paled in comparison: approximately 25% from the supervised exercise group saw improvements, followed by just 20% from the home-exercise only group.
Chiropractic care can be valuable for seniors in a number of other ways, including increased mobility/flexibility and better energy with more restful sleep. Through increased balance and strength, older adults can prevent instances of falling or injuries caused by falls. These benefits can help them achieve improved wellness and an overall better quality of life.
Dougherty, Paul E et al. The Role of Chiropractic Care in Older Adults. Chiropractic & Manual Therapies 2012; 20: 3.
Maiers M, Bronfort G, Evans R, et al. Spinal manipulative therapy and exercise for seniors with chronic neck pain. Spine Journal 2014;14(9):1879-1889.
Weigel PAM, Hockenberry JM, Wolinsky FD. Chiropractic use in the Medicare Population: prevalence, patterns, and associations with 1-year changes in health and satisfaction with care. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2014;37:542-551.