The Role of Chiropractic Care in Older Adults

This article was published on February 21, 2012 in the journal, "Chiropractic & Manual Therapies". The article reviews information and statistics about the usage and role of chiropractic care for the aging population.

The review starts off by noting that the demographics of the population in the US is aging. By the year 2030 it is expected that one in every five Americans will be age 65 or older. The authors of the study also report that 14% of patients who go to chiropractors are age 65 or more. These seniors mainly go to chiropractors for complaints of musculoskeletal aches and pains with back pain being the most common ailment that brings these seniors to a chiropractor.

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The authors report that based on previous studies, 14.6% of seniors have gone to a chiropractor between the years of 1993 and 2007. On an annual basis, they report that between 4.1% – 5.4% of seniors seek chiropractic services each year.

The study notes that chiropractors offer a variety of services to seniors with chiropractic adjustments, called SMT (spinal manipulative therapy) by the authors, being the most common service, and nutritional advice and exercise recommendations being common.

The authors report that chiropractic adjustments vary and there are many different techniques used by chiropractors in their offices. They also note that most techniques used for seniors have been modified for the age of the patients and their specific spinal conditions.

The authors also noted that other studies showed chiropractic helping elderly people with a range of other health issues including: COPD (Congestive Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), constipation, depression (associated with back pain), Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, pneumonia, spinal stenosis, urinary incontinence, and osteoarthritic pain and dysfunction.

The study also reported that chiropractic care was safer than expected for older adults with two studies showing a small number of adverse events and none of them being serious. In their discussion the authors stressed the importance of chiropractic for seniors when they said, "As the population continues to age there will be a greater need for the chiropractic profession to meet the needs of the older adult."

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