New Research Sheds Light on Chiropractic and Balance in the Elderly
Recent research reporting on improvement in an 85 year old man undergoing chiropractic care reveals that chiropractic may play an important role in managing older people with balance, gait and coordination challenges.
The research, reported in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research, showed improvements in posture, gait, balance and coordination and the elderly man was able to decrease his prescription medication usage.
“Research is revealing that there is a relationship between abnormalities in the spine, the nervous system and brain” stated Dr. Matthew McCoy, a chiropractor, public health researcher and editor of the journal that published the study. “Basic science research shows that the proper functioning of the brain relies on proper structure and movement of the spine from an early age.”
Research has shown not only that the brain relies on normal structural integrity and joint movement, but that complex neurological communication and pathways involved in helping humans balance and orient themselves in space are tied into spinal biomechanics and their related neurological pathways.
“It makes perfect sense when you think about it” stated Dr. McCoy. “Coordination and balance disorders may be related to how the entire body communicates with the brain and the most critical area for this is the spine.”
According to McCoy “People’s nervous systems need the constant stimulation of movement in order to develop and function properly. Abnormal position or movement of the spinal vertebra can develop and this can lead to nerve interference. It is this interference, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct.”
The man reported on in the study presented with a chief complaint of difficulty walking and poor posture. He had difficulty in standing up from a chair and was also unsteady on his feet. The patient was receiving medical care from various physicians for pre-existing comorbidities.
After a course of chiropractic care the patient had the ability to get up from a chair with ease, and he had noticeable improvements in posture, gait, balance and coordination. He was also able to decrease his prescription medication usage.
Coulter and Rupert have reported on the health outcomes of elderly undergoing chiropractic care. They report increased mobility, decreased hospitalizations, less medication usage, less days in hospitals and other important positive outcomes.
The researchers call for more research on chiropractic, subluxation, coordination and balance disorders.
Matthew McCoy DC, MPH
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