The Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published a case study on September 12, 2016, documenting the progress of an elderly man with limited motion being helped with chiropractic. Mobility is a primary concern for the elderly and has a direct effect on the overall quality of seniors’ lives.
The study begins by noting that the population of older people is growing rapidly worldwide. It is estimated that by the year 2050, people over the age of 60 will represent 21.1% of the worlds population with numbers greater than 2 billion.
The author of the study reviewed other studies involving chiropractic and motion in the elderly. In summarizing these studies he noted, “In recent studies chiropractic care, primarily focused on the correction of vertebral subluxation, has been shown to positively impact the older adults’ ability to remain independent, perform activities of daily living, and to be able to participate in life on many different levels, including physical and social functioning.”
In this case, a 75-year-old man with a 20-year history of low back and neck pain went to a chiropractor. Due to his age, he believed he may not be able to improve and may have to “learn to live with it.” His history revealed that 48 years ago, the man had fallen over 22 feet down a sewage pit.
The man reported exhibiting discomfort while sitting and standing. His physical activity was curtailed to walking only short distances due to his pain and stiffness. His pain had gotten to the point where, over the prior four weeks before seeking chiropractic care, he had started taking over the counter pain medication. During the examination, the man rated his physical health as 4/10 and mental health as 7/10.
The examination showed that the man carried his head forward while also having an increased hunched-type curve in his middle back. His spinal range of motion was limited in most all directions. Thermography and surface EMG studies also showed problem areas in the man’s spine.
Chiropractic care was begun at the rate of 2 visits per month. The study stated that after the sixth visit, the man reported increased flexibility and was able to walk for longer distances than before. On the seventh visit, the man commented, “It is important for me to be able to bend forward and move my head, I can do that easier now,” He also commented, “I’ve noticed my posture is more upright and not bent forward.”
As a result, the man’s self rating of his health improved from a 4/20 to an 8/10, and his mental health improved from 7/10 to 8/10. Additional improvements included increased range of motion in all of his movements, and he was able to discontinue his over-the-counter pain medication.
In his conclusion the author wrote, “Chiropractic care to correct vertebral subluxation was associated with improvements in the patient’s presenting musculoskeletal complaints and resultant quality of life.”