It is estimated that by 2030, 20% of the US population will be over 65 years of age. Currently, the leading cause of injury and death in those over 65 is falling. Nearly 1 in 3 elderly people experience a fall each year, and a quarter of those receive serious injuries from their fall. In addition to physical pain, possible hospitalization or surgery, and decreased independence and functional ability, the psychological fear of falling is a very real issue that can affect quality of life and increase the risk of additional falls.
Thankfully, studies have shown that chiropractic can help significantly decrease the risk of falls in elderly individuals, extending their life expectancy, increasing their independence and quality of life, and improving their overall health.
1. It Improves Balance & Posture
Balance and proper posture are key to avoiding falls. General discomfort, dizziness, improper spinal alignment, and more can result in poor balance and posture, and this leads older adults to compensate in how they stand and walk. This compensation or discomfort while moving often leads to instability and lack of confidence in moving, which then results in an increased risk of falling. Chiropractic adjustments have proven beneficial in improving posture and increasing overall body balance by gently moving the vertebrae into proper alignment.
2. It Decreases Vertigo & Dizziness
While dizziness is a common occurrence for many elderly people, it doesn’t have to be. Whether an individual suffers from diagnosed vertigo or just general dizziness, they are at a higher risk of falling than someone who doesn’t experience those symptoms. Vestibular disorders within the inner ear are usually responsible for dizziness, and these can be improved upon and oftentimes completely corrected by chiropractic adjustments. When dizziness decreases, the risk of falling also significantly decreases in elderly individuals.
3. It Increases Blood Flow & Muscle Function, Reducing the Likelihood of Muscle Atrophy
Chiropractic care improves overall body function, including restoring proper blood flow throughout the entire body. For many older people, their muscle function has decreased over time due to reduced blood flow to certain muscles (due to a misalignment of the spine) and a lack of use. A combination of chiropractic care and light exercise can help fully restore proper blood flow and muscle function, which reduces muscle atrophy and makes an individual’s body stronger and more stable, again reducing the likelihood of falling.
4. It Reduces Musculoskeletal Pain
Musculoskeletal pain seems to just be a normal part of life for many, especially the elderly. However, pain is one of the last symptoms to show up when there is a problem, and chiropractic care can improve overall health and musculoskeletal function, all the while decreasing pain. When an elderly individual isn’t in pain, he or she will walk more assuredly and without fear of falling, leading to a decreased risk of falling.
If you or a family member is at risk of falling or has fallen before, reach out to Dr. Grant at Greater Life Chiropractic today. He would love the opportunity to discuss your care options and work with you to decrease your risk of falling.
Lee, A., Lee, K., Khang, P. “Preventing Falls in the Geriatric Population.” The Permanente Journal, 2013 Fall; 17(4): 37-39. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3854807/#.
Kendall, J.C., Hartvigsen, J., French, S.D., Azari, M.F. “Is There a Role for Neck Manipulation in Elderly Falls Prevention?” – An overview.” The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, 2015 March; 59(1): 53-63. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4319454/.
Dougherty, P.E., Hawk, C., Weiner, D.K., Gleberzon, B., Andrew, K., Killinger, L. “The Role of Chiropractic Care in Older Adults.” Chiropractic & Manual Therapies, 2012; 20: 3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3306193/.