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Post-Chiropractic Injury in Elderly Patients


The older we get, the more stress placed on our musculoskeletal system. Our bones feel the effects of carrying our bodies around and supporting the muscles, organs, and other parts of our body. We often feel the effects of this stress over time at the major points in our body, such as the knees, the lower back, the neck, and the hips. In the elderly population, this is especially common as the increased age of this population results in longer time periods for this stress to incur.

There are some times when chiropractic care is applied to patients with musculoskeletal problems, pain, and discomfort, and the patient leaves the office with initial discomfort that will soon change as the body adjusts to its new alignment. This is especially common in patients who have experienced spinal manipulation, as the amount of time for the body and the nervous system to adjust is much higher than other types of treatment interventions.

A recent study looked into the potential for significant musculoskeletal injury to develop after a patient receives chiropractic care and after a patient receives treatment from a primary care physician. Using hazard ratios, the investigators were able to evaluate the risk of significant injury in two different elderly patient groups with the help of Medicare administrative data.

After evaluating the two groups’ injury outcomes, the potential for injury was significantly lower in the chiropractic patient group. Specifically, the incidence of post-treatment injury was 43 per 100,000 patients compared to an incidence of 153 per 100,000 patients in the primary care group.

So what does this tell us? Mainly, that the high possibility for injury to occur after primary care treatment should be enough to convince elderly individuals to consider chiropractic care as an alternative. The decision to seek chiropractic care needs to be well informed, but if the right information and resources are used, elderly patients should be able to reduce the amount of pain and discomfort resulting from stress placed on their musculoskeletal system. These individuals should also recognize that chiropractic care can result in some initially negative pain symptoms, the body will adjust to its new layout and these symptoms will reside.

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Garry Knight

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