Is chiropractic Care for the elderly safe and effective? In our chiropractic clinic, our youngest patient is 2 years old and the oldest we have to date is 90 years of age. The key difference between treatment success between the young and the elder is that the younger recover much faster than the elderly in most cases.
If you are considering recommending chiropractic care for elderly patients, you may be concerned that chiropractic adjustments could harm them, perhaps because of the force involved, or the twisting and “popping of joints”. I would be concerned too.
Just like for our young children, special care is needed also when providing chiropractic for elderly people. Hence, we use a myriad of techniques to treat our elderly patients. Our primary goal for all patients younger or elder is to restore function. We take into consideration whether the elderly patient has osteoporosis, weakness, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, or medications before safely treating our elderly.
So what can I do for our elderly folks with our chiropractic treatment? If the elderly chiropractic patients are in pain, our goal is to help them with pain management first. If they are weak and cannot get up from their chair either due to pain or weakness, then we work on restoring strength and stability. Elderly patients also suffer from concessional headaches even when their blood pressure is under control. Often their neck is stiff and has reduced motion and very often degeneration of the spinal discs has set in. Even if your elderly parents have no pain symptoms, I recommend a complete exam for preventive health chiropractic care for the elderly. When we wait too long, it takes much longer to see results and sometimes there is not much we can do. See the video below on an elderly who has spondylolisthesis or slipped disc resulting in sciatica type pain in the buttocks and legs causing her not to be able to walk for long.
Take one of our elderly chiropractic patients for an example. She was brought in by a few of her family members who rolled her in a wheelchair. Speaking only Hokkien (Chinese Dialect), she was able to tell me what troubled her. Although her family who brought her in could tell me that she had pain in the hip where she had hip surgery many years ago, I was able to gather more information from her when she told me that her pain originates from her lower back and she would feel pain in the thigh, buttocks, and at other times the pain would seem to run to the other side of the hip. In her Hokkien words, she would tell me “Tia, tia, tia, jin jia tia!” meaning, “Painful painful very painful indeed!”
When I asked this elderly lady’s family if she had taken any pain medication for her pain, they said her medication seemed to give her stomach upset and did not seem to help her. She also has weakness in her legs and she could not stand for more than a couple of minutes. I had to formulate a gentle chiropractic treatment and that does not require our elderly lady to get out of her chair.
Our goal for our elderly lady was pain relief to improve her quality of life. If you have elderly parents whom you love like I do, you will feel pain when they are in pain. Well, after the treatment, I asked her how her pain was and she replied, “Kah boh ah ne tia liao” meaning “Not as painful as before.”
Although we did not achieve 100% pain relief in the first visit, I know improving the pain symptoms will help her feel better and sleep better. If you have parents or loved one who have pain in the back, knee, hip and are looking for a second opinion to surgery,
Questions Regarding Chiropractic Care for the Elderly.
- My mother has knee pain and we have done x-rays and was recommend surgery. Will chiropractic work for her to avoid or delay her surgery? Answer: My recommendation is to explore conservative treatment which does not involve surgery if possible. If you mother is over 70 years of age then you must also consider post-operative risks and complications involve in knee surgeries. What I can do for you is to evaluate her condition together with her x-rays to determine if we can help her. Usually, if we can she will improve within 2 to 6 sessions of treatment.
- Can elderly person with Parkinson’s for over 7 years undergo chiropractic for pain? My uncle is over 60 year old and has pain and cannot walk for very long not due to Parkinson’s but due to lower back pain and also in buttock? Answer: Parkinson patients have rigid bodies and movement, hence, if they have a back pain, it seems to stay with them until it is properly treated. Fortunately, our Parkinson’s patient respond very well in our office and usually get relief for both neck and back pain.