Chiropractors treat more than 35 million Americans each year, and the results seem to be positive. Around 75% of those who seek chiropractic care say their quality of life is positively impacted, according to the American Chiropractic Association.
But should seniors seek chiropractic care? It's a question that comes down to your personal health needs, your preferences and the recommendations from your medical providers. Discover some benefits to chiropractic care for older adults below and talk to your provider about your options.
Sometimes pain in the back, neck, shoulders and other areas is caused by misalignment of the spine or other structure issues in the body. These issues can put pressure on nerves or muscles, leading to various types of pain.
Chiropractors can help patients pinpoint some reasons for their pain. They then apply gentle manipulation of the spine and other areas to realign elements within the body and potentially reduce pain.
These adjustments may not be permanent fixes, especially for older adults. Bone degeneration, underlying conditions and other factors can cause the alignment issues to creep up again, which might mean you need to see a chiropractor periodically for an adjustment.
In some cases, chiropractic care can improve someone's strength and balance. When the body is properly aligned and all the elements are working well together, you're more likely to move with a more stable gait and improved balance, and that can help reduce the risks of falls.
Plus, when you're not in as much pain, you may not be catering to certain areas of your body with the way you move. This can also enhance your balance and reduce fall risks.
Chiropractic adjustments aren't magic youth fountains that replenish all of a body's motion and strength, though. Older adults should remain mindful of their movements and couple complementary treatment options like chiropractic care with other methods of reducing falls. Those might include mobility devices like canes or walkers or support devices such as safety bars in bathrooms.
Many types of joint damage occur because bones rub together after age and other factors cause cartilage and protective tissues to wear down. Chiropractic adjustments can help reduce or slow down these issues by ensuring that bones and joints are properly aligned. That can reduce how fast tissues are worn down or keep bones from creating so much friction against each other.
Again, this complementary treatment may be best when applied in conjunction with other methods. Talk to your doctor about your options for treating joint pain, which might include medications and diet and lifestyle changes too.
Chiropractic adjustments and care may help support a fuller range of motion for longer. When your body is properly aligned, it's able to move in more appropriate ways. You might also be less restricted by pain. And when you move your body in an appropriate way more often, you may be able to build up muscles and other functions that help stave off some of the effects of aging.
Many people report that chiropractic care brings an overall increase in their quality of life. It's seen as a holistic approach to overall wellness, especially when combined with other elements of a healthy lifestyle. Those include eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and keeping up with your medical appointments, especially if you're monitoring and managing a chronic condition.
According to Spine Universe, chiropractic care is considered relatively safe and, in many cases, the least invasive option for treating certain types of pain.
Seniors should be aware that many people do experience short-term side effects from these types of treatments, including some soreness and stiffness for up to 72 hours. This is the same type of side effect you might expect with treatments such as physical therapy and deep tissue massage. In most cases, the side effects can be treated with over-the-counter pain medications, ice or heat to the sore area and rest.
You should always consult your medical provider when considering new treatment options for any health concern. But it can be important to keep an open mind about treatments and seek out complementary care that could improve outcomes with your conditions. Chiropractic care is just one of those options, and it might be a good place for older adults to start if they'd like to expand treatment without taking more medications or undergoing invasive surgeries.
Overall wellness is an important consideration for people of any age. Residents at the Grand Villa assisted living community in Grand Junction, Colorado, have access to a number of wellness services onsite, including physical therapy and podiatry as well as exercise programs and options for help managing chronic conditions.