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How Fall Prevention & Chiropractics Are Prolonging Lives

Falling is an integral part of life. We go from infants that crawl, to ones that take tiny steps, and along the way, our rear ends come into constant contact with the ground. however, as adults, we assume that our many hours of practice in walking, allows for us to have a smooth, uninterrupted experience. This is true for the majority of us in our early years, but as we age, it seems that falls become part of our lives once again. In fact, roughly 55 percent of unintentional injury deaths among senior citizens in the United States alone, come from falling. Sadly, this number is on the rise, as just years ago, the numbers were closer to 30 percent.

This bell curve of falls, starting at infancy, plateauing during our youth, and then rising steadily as we age is due to just that, our age. In our infancy, we have yet to master the nuances of walking without falling, we are still getting the lay of the land, our senses and control of our bodies. In our senior years, we become unstable, not because of a lack of knowledge on how to walk, but due to a lack of strength, poor balance, and often misalignments in our spine.

The Fastest Growing Killer of Elderly Are Falls

With that said, it has been concluded that among the fastest growing killers of older Americans isn’t due to a debilitating disease or a deadly disability, but accidental falls. A new CDC report found that the rate of Americans over the age of 65 that pass away as a result of unintentional falls has almost doubled in the last decade alone.

So, as you may be wondering, what is the reason that so many more falls are occurring in the senior community, and what can be done to avoid it? Well, according to studies, there’s actually isn’t one single reason alone for the vast rise in deaths from falls, this according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Numbers for studies on this phenomenon generally come from death certificate data, and there may be better reporting on underlying causes of death than in the past. However, one large contributing factor some researchers often gravitate to, is the ever growing increase in overall life expectancy.

Causes of Falls in Elderly

Because people are now living much longer than they once did, they are more at risk for falls and other injuries of the like, as they age. Living in certain conditions that leave them susceptible to falling, has a great impact on why we are seeing this more and more. Our society is now better equipped to help those of a certain age handle their everyday activities, and have their health needs met. With more assisted living facilities popping up across the country, more money being allocated by the government to the health and well-being of elderly U.S residents, better medications, and hospital procedures, all designed to help prolong our lives, the number of people able to stave off death from things such as heart disease or diabetes, can now prolong life; this is also why the U.S. life expectancy is now at an all time high of close to 80 years of age.

Living longer is great, it comes with so many great perks. The ability to see the world, to be alive, to see loved ones grow, all pros of living well into your later years. But the older we get, the more weak and frail we become; even the healthiest of us doesn’t stand a chance against father time and the toll he takes on our bodies.

To put it all into perspective, The CDC states that unintentional injuries comprised 85 percent of all fatal injuries in 2012-2013, with suicide and homicide accounting for just 15 percent. So, with the writing on the wall, what is best to help keep your loved ones, or even yourself, if you fall into this specific age range, from injuring yourself due to a fall?

Falls in the Elderly and Prevention

Well,  according to a 2005 study, the direct medical costs of falls are estimated to be $6-8 billion per year. These numbers of course, are probably much higher a decade later, and include the costs of things like surgeries, rehabilitation, therapy, hospital stays and more. With the rise in the population of older adults, these fall rates will surely rise too, meaning the price tag for a fall will skyrocket along with it. Preventative measures, are always the best way to stay one step ahead, to keep yourself healthy, and to avoid these costly hits to your finances, as well as your body and mind.

The American Geriatric Society (AGS) has actually mapped out a number of helpful approaches to fall prevention for senior citizens. Following these guidelines is aimed at better helping those of a certain age navigate their everyday lives, all with minimal risk of falling or other harmful bodily injury.

Daily practices and exercises to help strengthen the core, as well as the remainder of the body, can help with better balance. Constant review of medications to ensure that judgment, eyesight and overall function is never impaired, as well as regular check ups with a general practitioner and optometrist. Small checks such as these on a regular basis can help fortify not only the individual, but their surroundings as well, and put them in a much better position to live their life, fall free.


Chiropractic Manipulation & Helping Against Falls

The American Geriatric Society’s (AGS) guidelines specifically state that to properly handle and manage the chronic pain and to better prepare the body to guard against falls, chiropractic care as a non-invasive approach is needed. One of the main reasons that chiropractic care is mentioned is due to its ability to have very few, if none, adverse effects. Correcting any subluxations in the spine, or other joints throughout the body, chiropractic care may positively affect gait and balance, leading to a much higher chance for better stability, meaning a much lowered chance of a serious fall.

Chiropractors have many methods to help seniors avoid falls. Not just through spinal manipulation, but through their knowledge of the human body, as well as sending patients home with exercises and routines to perform on their own, they are able to equip seniors with an arsenal of information to help them stay away from serious health issues in relation to falling. Many doctors of chiropractic will outfit a senior patient with their own home-hazard checklist.This list informs patients of things in their home that generally cause injury, and how to look out for them, secure them safely and how to navigate their home without worry. 

Having this ability to have peace of mind, safety, and comfort at your disposal, and seemingly in the palm of your hands, the rate of falls, particularly in the elderly should be better able to decline at a speedy rate. The more people that become aware of the dangers in their surroundings, as well as the best possible ways to avoid them, and to keep safe from them, the longer people will live healthier, happier and fun filled lives. NOt only is knowing these dangers one of the better ways to equip yourself with adequate information, it is also a great way to spread the word, to pass on safety tips and advice to others, and to create a sense of good health and well being in the community in which you reside. 

If you, or someone you  know has had any issues with falls recently, there’s really no time like the present, to come on down to The Joint Chiropractic in Corpus Christi. Our friendly staff and team of knowledgeable doctors of chiropractic, are always ready to help you with questions, concerns or general inquiries as to how chiropractic care may help you. We pride ourselves on providing our community and its residents, the easiest access to answers in regards to their health and safety, both in and out of the home, regardless of age. With no appointments necessary, and a $19 first visit fee, shoring up your health has never been easier. With so many people living longer and longer, why not be one of those that does it happily, healthily and longer than anyone else? 

 

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of michael warren

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Janice Waltzer

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