Updated: Sep 18, 2019
Question: I am a 67 year old female with osteoarthritis and early stage osteoporosis. Chiropractic has helped me in the past but now I am scared to get adjusted because of these conditions. Can I still get adjusted or is it too dangerous? Will chiropractic still help my back with all of these other conditions going on? - Mona Minnie, Heron’s Glen North Fort Myers, Florida.
Answer: Caring for an aging spine requires a special understanding of the normal age-related changes that occur in the musculoskeletal system in later years. Ligament elasticity, disc height and fluidity, muscle mass and bone density may all decrease, while capillary and skin fragility and stiffness may be increased. These changes help determine what kind of adjustment technique should be used and how that technique may need to be modified in order to fit the patient’s condition.
A broad range of chiropractic techniques are available that tailor care more towards the specific needs of patients of all ages. In my practice I have found that a lower force adjustment technique combined with therapeutic procedures that address muscle pain and inflammation yields the best response with my senior patients. The adjusting technique of choice in my chiropractic office is called Thompson drop technique. It requires a special table with drop pieces underneath the patient that gives way as the adjustment is delivered which allows more force without me having to be more physically forceful. It provides less impact on the doctor performing the adjustment as well as the patient receiving the adjustment. It works the same way as other traditional chiropractic techniques minus the rotational component of the adjustment which can aggravate arthritic spines and degenerative disks. The tension on the table can be lowered to compensate for other spinal conditions such as osteoporosis which require a less forceful impact during the adjustment.
For those seniors who are in good physical health and lead an active physical lifestyle, chiropractic can offer significant help in many cases. These patients are treated with pain relief and maintenance/ stabilization in mind so that they can return to the active lifestyle that they enjoy. Occasionally, some seniors enter our office with significant additional health problems. Sometimes these additional health problems can slow down the progress that may be expected under chiropractic care. While there can still be wonderful benefits for these types of cases, the ultimate goals must be tempered so as to be realistic for the particular patient.
Quality of life is really the big issue for senior citizens. If someone came into our office with advanced arthritis, chiropractic will unlikely cure their arthritis, but maybe what it can do is improve mobility, keep the joints moving, and decrease some of the pain. To someone who suffers from pain on a daily basis, that is a big deal.
Dr. Misty Green is a local Chiropractor serving the Cape Coral/North Fort Myers, Florida area for over 20 years. She can be reached at (239) 772-5777 to schedule an appointment. Check out our website at AskDrMisty.com for short and sweet video health tips.
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