chiropractic for seniors

Chiropractic Care for Seniors

Ever wonder how chiropractic care can help seniors? By alleviating pain and discomfort, chiropractors can help improve the quality of life for older individuals.

by Katherine Khaw

Chiropractic Care for Seniors

As a person ages, the body begins to wear and tear and may be more susceptible to injury. Thus, it is crucial to find ways to strengthen one’s body to ensure continued mobility, strength, and balance. Generally, older people suffer from conditions such as arthritis, brittle bones, and joint degeneration and would benefit from chiropractic sessions.

Introduction to Chiropractic Care

chiropractic

Chiropractic care is carried out by a licensed chiropractor. The professional uses pressure to manipulate joints in the body, realign your spine, and reduce pain. A chiropractor is able to attend to conditions that affect the nervous and musculoskeletal systems.

As they treat aches, pains, creaks, and strains, they may offer the following treatments:

  • Adjustments: With this, they will realign joints to decrease pain or increase your mobility.
  • Soft-tissue therapy: Tight muscles and tension will be released, and they will attend to relieve spasms.
  • Exercises and stretches: By engaging in this, they seek to restore joint stability and mobility.
  • Joint bracing/taping: This is carried out to support sprained muscles or joints.

The treatment required for each person will vary accordingly. Chiropractic care is often personalised after understanding a person’s body condition.

Who Can Go for Chiropractic Care?

Chiropractic care has its uses, but not everyone can benefit from it.

Types of persons who may seek chiropractic care are people who:

  • suffer from neck, back, or knee pain (unexplained cause that is not related to advanced osteoarthritis)
  • get tension headaches and migraines
  • have frozen shoulder syndrome
  • experience symptoms of chronic pain, fatigue, lack of energy, digestive problems, and tingling

However, some people should not be seeking a chiropractor. Examples of such people are those with:

  • a slipped disc or arthritis (to only seek a chiropractor’s work after receiving advice from specialist physicians)
  • a physical abnormality or injury in the body, like a fracture
  • osteoporosis or fragile health

Before chiropractic care is given, you will be given an assessment on your first visit. There will be a need to discuss your medical history and perform a physical exam. Sometimes, imaging tests may be carried out to understand your musculoskeletal system, which may include X-rays, CT scan and/or MRI scan.

The chiropractor will develop a treatment plan based on the findings and results of your test. This treatment typically ranges from a minimum of 6 or 8 sessions and may be more than that if required.

Pros and Cons of Chiropractic Care

pros and cons of chiropractic care

Seeking chiropractic care has its pros and cons. There are reasons to stand for or against this method of treatment, varying from person to person.

These are some of the pros of chiropractic care, as listed below:

  • Alleviates pain and discomfort
  • Reduces inflammation, pressure, or tension
  • Strengthen joint mobility and health
  • Improves sleep and athletic performance
  • Boost cognitive function
  • Decreases risk of joint degeneration and illness
  • Regulates mood swings, stress, and anxiety levels

Meanwhile, there are some cons of chiropractic care to consider as well:

  • Bone damage or stroke might be possible during spinal manipulation, which may pose a higher risk for seniors (examples of complications such as slipped disc, pinched nerves, or an occurrence of stroke)
  • Scientific studies do not share many results on chiropractic care, although receivers of chiropractic care appear to benefit from it
  • Treatment may be expensive over an extended period
  • Treatment may not be covered under insurance

Pros and cons are present not only for chiropractic care but general medical procedures. It is best to weigh whether the option at hand is more beneficial or harmful for you.

Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Seniors

benefits of chiropratic

Should you or your senior loved ones choose to go forward with chiropractic care, these are some of the benefits that one can enjoy.

  • Improvement of neck pain

Neck pain usually persists if a person sits for long hours, strains to use the phone by bending the neck, or has poor posture. A chiropractor is able to realign the spine and ease tension in the neck muscle.

  • Reduce reliance on opioid pain relievers

Normally, people with chronic pain get a prescription for opioid pain relievers. These are used to relieve the pain. Going for chiropractic treatment is likely to result in less chronic pain. Then, this would reduce the reliance on these pain relievers.

  • Relieves back pain

Seniors may use chiropractic treatment as an alternative compared to surgery or injections, in order to treat back pain. Aside from chiropractic care, a person may seek out options such as acupuncture, yoga, or meditation.

  • Relieves headache symptoms

With improvement to neck tension or injury, chiropractic care is able to reduce headaches as well. According to a study in 2016, it may be more effective than movement and exercise for relieving pain. Chiropractic care can reduce the strain of neck tension.

  • Improves posture

Chiropractic care can also help to improve posture, especially a bad one due to sitting too long. Seniors often suffer from a hunchback posture which can lead to back pain, neck pain, and headaches. This can also help people with scoliosis, in which the angle of deformity in the spine can be improved.

  • Increases mobility

Loss of mobility, or a limited range, can hold a person back from participating in activities. Chiropractic care helps seniors to improve their flexibility, alleviate tensed or tight muscles, and even align the joints. Weak muscles may also be strengthened, contributing to the increase in mobility.

  • Improved balance

Due to age, receptors related to coordination do not function as effectively as before.  This may lead to an increase in falls. However, falls are hazardous for senior citizens. As improved spinal health and alignment can improve balance, this will benefit the individual on an overall basis, as it reduces the risk of falling. Chiropractic care can assist in improved coordination as well. 

  • Improved quality of life

Studies have shown that the quality of life in elderly persons who have received chiropractic care benefited by being 22% less likely to suffer from arthritis are more likely to engage in exercise, less likely to move to a nursing home and experienced a decrease in hospital stays.

Overall, chiropractic care is hands-on adjustments on the body which are meant to reduce pain and rectify issues with the spine. They are carried out in order to help the body recover and heal itself.

Where to Get Chiropractic Care

In Malaysia, chiropractic care is recognised by the government, under the Ministry of Health (MOH). This has been classified under the Malaysian Traditional and Complementary Medicine Division. With this, the practice of chiropractic care is regulated in a manner that will protect the public.

A good place you may wish to begin your hunt for chiropractic care might be via the Association of Chiropractic’s website. Here, they are able to list the nearest licensed chiropractic centres after you have included your location information. A regular membership with the association requires that the individual received professional education and training from a recognised institution, with The Councils on Chiropractic Education International (CCEI). In addition, the individual has to be registered with the Malaysian Traditional and Complementary Medicine Council. As such, this ensures the safety of you or your loved ones who may wish to engage in chiropractic care, as these individuals are licensed.

Otherwise, your healthcare provider at the clinic or hospital should be able to give recommendations on which centre may be suitable for your needs. Aside from chiropractic care, some healthcare providers may recommend physiotherapy.

What to Expect while Receiving Chiropractic Care

chiro care

Before engaging in chiropractic care, consult the chiropractor on areas of concern and allow the professional to address the treatment that will be used to treat your pains. They may range from spinal manipulation, therapy, or exercises.

The affected individual will be placed face down on a chiropractic table (or chair), allowing certain body parts to be lifted higher than the rest. This helps the chiropractor to apply pressure on a specific area of the body. The chiropractor will use their hands or small instruments to apply pressure to a joint. They may also help to realign the vertebrae in the spine and release trapped gases within the joints.

There may be popping sounds during the procedure. However, it is the release of gases such as oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide from the joints. This is similar to when cracking your knuckles. Chiropractic care may sound painful, but it should not be too painful. The adjustments should only offer little to no pain during the procedure. You may feel slight soreness or minor aches in the body, which usually go away in a day.

There may be some recommendations to carry out the following:

  • Engage in regular exercises and stretches.
  • Find ways to improve your posture, especially when sitting for long hours.
  • Using an ice or heat pack, or an ointment to soothe aches.
  • Advice to review one’s health via nutritional intake and weight.
  • Discover options to manage stress and relax muscles (stress may cause muscles to tense up).
  • Electrical muscle stimulation.

References
About the Writer
Katherine Khaw
Katherine is an avid reader, finding joy in halls of words. Aside from the imagination wandering in worlds not here, she enjoys stargazing and gardening. In her heart of hearts, she aspires to be a writer, and to be more than mere dust.
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