Treating our Elderly, Senior, and Geriatric patients with Chiropractic
Dr. Anton Pyatetsky at Pyatetsky Family Chiropractic is trained in specific low force adjustments tailored for our eldery and geriatric patients to allow them to enjoy the quality of life they deserve!
The bottom line in aging care is that someone in the health-care world must provide health promotion and preventive services to older patients before the wave of aged patients profoundly overwhelms our health-care system. Chiropractic services are safe and relatively low-cost, and patient satisfaction with them is very high. In the managed-care environment, time pressures on allopathic providers may preclude them from spending sufficient time discussing health promotion and illness prevention with their patients. Chiropractic, when paid for out-of-pocket, is not as affected by these extreme pressures. With the hands-on nature of chiropractic care, a strong doctor-patient relationship is forged in which health and lifestyle recommendations may be comfortably and effectively discussed. Relative to musculoskeletal care in elderly patients, chiropractic adjustments (spinal manipulative therapy) are recommended by the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research for the care of acute low back pain, and the American Geriatric Society Panel Guidelines for the Management of Chronic Pain state that non-pharmaceutical interventions such as chiropractic may be appropriate. Most geriatric health-care providers have a limited number of options to offer patients with these complaints. Various lower-force chiropractic techniques are available as safe alternatives to drugs and surgery for musculoskeletal complaints in the older patient. Due to the prevalence of these conditions in older patients, and the success of chiropractic in caring for these patients, interdisciplinary geriatric health care teams should include the doctor of chiropractic. Chiropractors, well trained in health assessment, diagnosis, radiographic studies, health promotion, and illness prevention, are well-positioned to provide many primary health-care services to aging patients. This is particularly important to a nation that is straining to provide adequate geriatric health care in rural areas and areas with a shortage of health-care professionals. 6
One study published in Chiropractic & Manual Therapies points to a report that found that 23 percent of older adults experience non-disabling back pain and an additional six percent suffer from disabling back pain, taking the total percentage of elderly individuals struggling with some level of back-related pain to 29 percent, or almost one-third of the population.2 Fortunately, chiropractic can provide positive results for geriatric patients with this particular type of pain by helping correct spinal misalignments and alleviating nerve impingements.
Chiropractic can also help seniors with neck pain, according to research published in The Spine Journal. In one particular study, 241 people 65 years of age or older with neck pain for 12 weeks or more were divided into three different groups: those who received spinal manipulative therapy (chiropractic) and home exercise, persons engaged in supervised rehabilitative exercise and home exercise, and those who did home exercise only. Results showed that the group who engaged in chiropractic and home exercise reported the greatest neck pain relief.3
Another physical issue common to elderly individuals is arthritis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites that one-half of all people are susceptible to osteoarthritis in the knee by the age of 85. Furthermore, one-quarter of all people will likely develop arthritis in their hip region.4 One study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine involved a 70-year-old female patient who struggled with hip osteoarthritis for over a year. She engaged in just 12 weeks of chiropractic and the result was “increased range of motion, improved balance and gait speed, and decreased disability.” Although these were very promising results, individuals in this age range require special considerations when it comes to which chiropractic table to use.5
1 Administration for Community Living. “Aging statistics.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.aoa.acl.gov/Aging_Statistics/index.aspx. Accessed April 2015.
2 Andrew K, et al. The role of chiropractic care in older adults. Chiropr Man Therap. 2012:20(3).
3 Bracha Y, et al. Spinal manipulative therapy and exercise for seniors with chronic neck pain. Spine J. 2014:14(9);1879–1889.
4 National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Population Health. “Arthritis-related statistics.” Centers for Disease control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/data_statistics/arthritis_related_stats.htm. Updated March 2014. Accessed April 2015.
5 Hanses M, Strunk R. Chiropractic care of a 70-year-old female patient with hip osteoarthritis. J Chiropr Med. 2011:10(1);54–59.
6 Killinger, Lisa Zaynab. “Chiropractic and Geriatrics: a Review of the Training, Role, and Scope of Chiropractic in Caring for Aging Patients.” Clinics in Geriatric Medicine, vol. 20, no. 2, 2004, pp. 223–235., doi:10.1016/j.cger.2004.02.008.