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As the population ages, older adults turn to geriatric chiropractic care to enhance their physical and mental health and overall well-being. One reason for the increased popularity of such services is that when people get older (65 years plus), their bodies start to develop more spinal problems, leading to problems with their joints, ligaments, nerves, bones, and discs. 

While these problems are not specific to seniors, they are more common for older adults, who gradually see a decline in mobility. This, in turn, impacts their movement with decreased flexibility, poorer balance, and impaired posture. All of which reduce their quality of life and independence. 

For this reason, many seniors turn to geriatric chiropractic care because it offers a natural and non-invasive approach that enhances their health and well-being. Chiropractic care focuses on the musculoskeletal and nervous systems, helping patients realign their musculoskeletal structure, particularly the spine, and allowing the body to heal without surgery or medication. But what is it exactly?

Geriatric chiropractic care is a branch of chiropractic care that focuses specifically on the well-being of seniors. It considers the unique needs and considerations of older adults, tailoring treatment plans to address age-related musculoskeletal issues while promoting overall health. 

Geriatric chiropractors are the people who provide this type of care, and they undergo specialized training that equips them with the knowledge and skills to address the specific concerns of seniors. While the principles of general chiropractic care apply, geriatric chiropractors use their expertise to enhance seniors’ mobility, reduce pain, improve balance, and improve physical function.

The responsibilities of geriatric chiropractors include the following:

A senior is receiving geriatric chiropractic care to enhance her physical and overall well-being.
Geriatric chiropractic care can enhance a senior’s physical and mental health and overall well-being.
  • Conducting consultations and examinations: A geriatric chiropractor will initiate consultations with new patients. They will examine a patient’s medical history to identify underlying health issues. These physical examinations will pinpoint musculoskeletal problems that cause discomfort or mobility problems, allowing the chiropractor to develop a suitable treatment plan.
  • Treating patients: This entails various treatment methods, such as spinal adjustments, soft tissue massage, exercise therapy, and other treatments that enhance joint functionality and mobility. The overall aim of these treatments is to improve the well-being of older adults while alleviating pain and stiffness.
  • Educating patients: Geriatric chiropractors allocate time to educate their patients about maintaining proper posture, performing exercises safely and effectively, and implementing lifestyle adjustments, such as dietary changes, to prevent future injuries.
  • Managing administrative tasks: Depending on a practice’s size and support staff, most geriatric chiropractors must manage administrative duties, such as scheduling appointments, updating patient records, and handling billing matters.

What techniques do geriatric chiropractors use?

Geriatric chiropractors use a diverse range of techniques when treating older adults. Some key techniques they use include:

  • Joint mobilization: This involves utilizing gentle, hands-on joint mobilization techniques. This enhances joint mobility, reduces stiffness, alleviates pain, and improves functional movement.
  • Soft tissue therapy: Techniques like myofascial release and massage are applied to target muscle tension, stiffness, and soft tissue restrictions. These techniques promote relaxation, boost blood circulation, and relieve discomfort.
  • Exercise and rehabilitation: Geriatric chiropractors create personalized exercise programs to improve strength, balance, and flexibility. These tailored plans also improve mobility and reduce the risk of falls while maintaining overall physical function.
  • Posture correction: Chiropractors utilize various approaches, such as ergonomic education, spinal adjustments, and specific exercises, to improve postural imbalances, mobility, balance, and spinal health. 
  • Fall prevention: Chiropractors offer balance training and guidance on home modifications so older adults can maintain independence while living in a safe home environment. 
  • Pain management: Techniques like spinal adjustments and therapeutic modalities (e.g., heat or cold therapy) are used to manage pain associated with age-related musculoskeletal conditions. 
  • Nutritional and lifestyle guidance: Chiropractors offer guidance on nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle habits to support musculoskeletal health and general well-being. 

In the upcoming sections, we will discuss the misconceptions about chiropractic care and why it is beneficial for older adults to use geriatric chiropractic care services. 

Chiropractic Care for Seniors: Common Misconceptions

Studies show that musculoskeletal problems are the primary reason older adults seek geriatric chiropractic care, resulting in the largest consumer group of these services. Additionally, geriatric chiropractic care also treats or aids other conditions that impact the quality of life for seniors, such as: 

  • Osteoarthritic pain and dysfunction (normally for the knee)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Misaligned vertebrae or other spinal misalignments
  • Inflammation or pressure on muscles, nerves, ligaments, and tendons

Even though geriatric chiropractors can treat the ailments listed above and have been known to help with other medical conditions, such as pain relief for cancer patients, there is still doubt about the safety of chiropractic care. Critics are skeptical of the efficacy of such treatment and studies have linked chiropractic care with fatal complications, resulting in death or stroke. 

Some clinical experts believe chiropractic care is unnecessary and can lead to possible injuries during an adjustment, especially during neck manipulations. Due to the delicate location of the neck, even highly trained chiropractors can accidentally cause harm. Therefore, experts warn patients with a history of stroke or the elderly to avoid neck manipulations completely.

While there are certainly valid concerns about chiropractic care, not all concerns are valid. Below are some of the most common myths about geriatric chiropractic care:

A senior patient is debunking the misconceptions about chiropractic care for seniors by having a treatment session.
There are many misconceptions about chiropractic care for seniors.
  • Chiropractic adjustments are painful: Some older patients may feel nervous about the process and believe it to be painful. However, if the adjustment is performed by a skilled chiropractor, it should not cause any direct pain to the patient. Geriatric chiropractors are highly trained and have an in-depth understanding of the skeletal and muscular systems, so they can identify the root cause of the problem and make precise adjustments to alleviate pain and discomfort. They tailor treatments for seniors, ensuring a safe and effective approach to addressing age-related musculoskeletal issues and providing relief.
  • Indefinite treatment sessions: Another misconception is that older patients will be locked into treatments indefinitely once they start chiropractic care. However, many seniors find relief after a few visits. And once their immediate needs have been met, they no longer need to attend regular treatment sessions. Furthermore, the decision to continue chiropractic adjustments is up to the patient.
  • Expensive treatment: Compared to visits to a physician, chiropractic care is a cost-effective option. It is a budget-friendly, natural, and healthy alternative for seniors with long-term treatment plans. And it reduces their reliance on medication, surgery, or intensive physical therapy.
  • Unqualified practitioners: The reality is that chiropractors undergo extensive education and training to become highly qualified healthcare professionals. After completing four years of undergraduate studies, they dedicate another four to five years to earn their doctorate. Additionally, chiropractors must pass rigorous state and national board certifications to obtain their licenses.

It is important to debunk the misconceptions about geriatric chiropractic care because it can offer a viable option for seniors to address their musculoskeletal issues and improve their overall health and well-being. 

By disregarding these misconceptions and seeking care from these qualified practitioners, seniors can experience many benefits of this natural and personalized approach to healthcare, which we will discuss in the next section. 

Contact us here to see how our long-term care software can improve geriatric chiropractic care. 

5 Benefits of Geriatric Chiropractic Care for Seniors

While discussing the misconceptions around chiropractic care, it is equally important to discuss the potential benefits of geriatric chiropractic care for seniors and how older adults can utilize it to improve their physical and mental health and general well-being. 

Geriatric chiropractic care is a controversial topic, and while there are many critics against the practice, there are also many in favor. Therefore, below are five potential benefits of chiropractic care for the elderly.  

  1. Reduce the risk of falls

As we age, the fear of falling becomes more prevalent due to weakened joints and muscles, leading to decreased balance. This vulnerability increases the likelihood of slips and falls that lead to injuries. And falls in old age can have severe consequences, such as broken bones, hospitalization, and a loss of independence. Life can change drastically in an instant.

Chiropractic care for seniors can mitigate that risk by enhancing mobility, flexibility, and balance. Chiropractic treatments help older adults regain confidence and stability on their feet. This allows them to navigate their daily lives with reduced fear of falling while improving their quality of life. 

  1. Alleviate chronic pain 

Spinal misalignments can disrupt the vital connection between the brain and the rest of the body, resulting in persistent pain. If left untreated, this pain can gradually transform into a chronic issue.

Some may think they are too old for chiropractic care, but skilled chiropractors have the expertise to gently and accurately correct spinal misalignments and restore proper nerve communication. Regardless of age, this targeted approach is effective and will relieve the pain often experienced as we age, offering renewed comfort and well-being.

  1. Improve movement

Over time, the protective cartilage between our joints wears down, leading to painful bone-on-bone friction. This pain can severely impact older people, hindering their ability to exercise and move, creating a distressing cycle of discomfort. Regular chiropractic adjustments offer a natural remedy to this problem. By reducing joint pain, chiropractic care restores and slows down joint degeneration, safeguarding against premature wear and tear to promote lasting joint health.

  1. Improve balance and coordination

As mentioned earlier, joint and spine degeneration can lead to poor posture, directly affecting balance and coordination. Additionally, spinal misalignments exacerbate these issues, leading to poor balance and coordination and limited movement for older adults.

Regular chiropractic care improves posture, subsequently improving balance. Furthermore, chiropractic treatments increase joint range of motion and reduce muscle and ligament tightness, optimizing the musculoskeletal system’s function. The improved spinal health from chiropractic care gives older adults more control and confidence to pursue activities of their choice. 

  1. Enhance holistic health and well-being 

Chiropractic care extends beyond treating the musculoskeletal system. It impacts the entire body, emphasizing a neurological approach that targets our general well-being. This is because spinal misalignments can cause nerve interference related to various health issues, such as digestive problems, compromised immune function, headaches, back pain, and other conditions that frequently trouble older people.

A senior patient is embracing the benefits of geriatric chiropractic care for seniors during a treatment session.
The benefits of geriatric chiropractic care for seniors include embracing holistic and non-invasive treatments.

Consistent geriatric chiropractic care enables older adults to optimize their health, alleviate health concerns, and foster a higher quality of life. By addressing root causes through chiropractic adjustments, older adults can experience a holistic improvement in their well-being, giving them more vitality and vigor in their golden years. 

Whether older adults are in a long-term care setting or at home, geriatric chiropractic care can improve their health and well-being. It gives older adults an alternative option to manage their pain and functional health issues rather than solely relying on pharmaceuticals. So it reduces their medication dependence while promoting a safer, holistic care option.

Embracing Geriatric Chiropractic Care

As our bodies naturally decline with age, we experience more musculoskeletal issues, reduced mobility, and a greater risk for falls. Geriatric chiropractic care offers a tailored and holistic approach to addressing the unique challenges of aging. And geriatric chiropractors have specialized knowledge and skills to target these age-related concerns, promoting better joint health, balance, and coordination. 

Chiropractic care also alleviates chronic pain and fosters overall physical and mental well-being by realigning the musculoskeletal structure and enhancing nerve communication. It allows seniors to maintain independence, engage in favorite activities, and enjoy a higher quality of life without relying on medications or invasive procedures. Seniors can live vibrant lives into their golden years by prioritizing spinal health. 

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