Many people assume that, as they get older, they are going to have to deal with aches, pains, and falling. In fact, one of the biggest risks to aging adults is falling and getting injured. 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 have at least 1 fall per year, and about 25% of those individuals are severely injured. However, you don’t have to suffer or fear falling if you are proactive about your health and wellness. With the help of a chiropractor, you can relieve pain, promote better posture, and dramatically reduce the risk of falling.
What Contributes to Increased Falling With Age?
Aging causes the human body to experience some deterioration. The skin, bones, connective tissues, and joints all have wear and tear. Many elderly individuals find that, because their body doesn’t function as freely, they can no longer be as mobile as they once were. This leads to a more sedentary lifestyle, which leads to poor spinal alignment and muscular atrophy. The elderly also tend to face things like vertigo, or dizziness.
Stiffness, lack of toned muscle, vertigo, and decreased blood flow can all contribute to falling. Thankfully, there are ways to address these age-related losses of strength and mobility.
The Dangers of Falling
Before we talk about how visiting the chiropractic can reduce your risk of falling, you need to understand why a fall can be so dangerous to the aging population. Most falls occur for more than one reason—and the reasons are many. Sometimes, the fall happens because of something the patient did in an unsafe environment. However, the most influential factors include reduced strength, sensory decline, age, pain, vision problems, medical conditions, and comorbidity. Medications can also increase the risk of falls.
When someone falls at a young age, they might get a little injured but usually can walk it off. As you get older, falling can lead to diminished quality of life, as well as:
- Decreased activity due to fear of falling
- Joint and muscle pain
- Worsening posture
- Depression and anxiety
- Broken bones
- Long-term disabilities
How Chiropractic Therapy Can Help
You may not realize it, but the health of your spine is directly related to how well you can balance and move. Many people—young or old—visit chiropractors to regain their sense of balance. Wondering how that works? There are many studies that have concluded the benefits chiropractic therapy has on the brain. One study from New Zealand looked into the influence chiropractic care has on brain function and found something fascinating. The brain controls our ability to walk, jog, run, and balance on one foot. When the brain and spine are healthy, these actions come more easily.
In the study, the researchers brought in 60 volunteers, each of the elderly. Half of the volunteers visited the chiropractor for 12 weeks while the other half acting as control didn’t have any therapy. Over the 12 week period, the researchers noted 3 specific things:
- The group receiving chiropractic care moved more easily than the members of the control group. They took faster, more confident steps.
- The experimental group processes their visual and audible surroundings much faster than those in the control group.
- The group having chiropractic sessions developed better kinesthetic awareness. They knew where their feet were in relation to the body, and they knew what it was doing. These individuals performed much better than those who received no chiropractic therapy.
It is important to note that the individuals attending chiropractic sessions were not receiving attention just to the feet, ankles, and legs. Their spines were adjusted throughout the 12 weeks. In other words, they were feeling more stable from standing up correctly and sitting with better posture. The researchers hypothesized that such care would promote faster communication between the brain and body, and the evidence from the study does indeed point to such benefits. However, they also noted that no significant difference was seen in the two groups prior to the fourth week of the study.
This means that you cannot just go to the chiropractor once and assume you will immediately feel a difference. You will have to commit to visiting the chiropractor at least once a week and remain consistent in other areas of your life. Yet, that consistency and commitment will ultimately pay off.
Looking for natural pain relief? The medication produces some terrible side effects that could make you feel worse before you feel better. Visiting the chiropractor is a much less painful affair. Adjustments often feel a bit like a massage, and your muscles will be more relaxed after a few sessions. You will find that once your posture has improved even a bit, you will feel less pain and may be compelled to be more active.
A Free Range of Motion
Aside from improving your posture and stability, visiting a chiropractor will help you get back to doing what you love with more freedom of movement. Chiropractors work to relieve aches and pains in the joints that could limit your mobility. As tension is released and you come back into proper spinal alignment, you will find things like sciatic nerve pain and tight hips become less of a nuisance. You will be able to get back to doing what you love in no time.
The Bottom Line
If you want to get back to playing with the grandchildren, gardening, cleaning, cooking, and dancing without pain and the fear of falling, then visiting the chiropractor could be the right path for you. Falling is dangerous, but with a proactive outlook and a trusted chiropractor, you can maintain quality of life for many years to come. Remember to pair your chiropractic visits with at least 20 minutes of activity a day to stay strong, balanced, and healthy!