When we think about our health in our golden years, we hope to be healthy, vibrant and active rather than just disease-free. Recent studies show that an active lifestyle may not only increase our current fitness levels, it may also have long lasting health benefits which improves our long term quality of life. Benefits include resistance to disease, increased flexibility and strength as well as reduction of the risk of dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease. Ask your chiropractor about activities, exercises and stretches that are appropriate for your age, physical condition and goals.
Our Aging Spines
As we age, our bodies naturally undergo a series of changes. Just like changes to our eyesight and hearing our spine may also undergo wear and tear. Aging makes us more prone to certain diseases and conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis. The level of spinal deterioration varies between individuals and is thought to be affected by factors such as a hereditary pre-disposition, injury, prolonged physical stress, nutritional history and the level of spinal care (spinal check-ups and/or regular adjustments). 90% of people aged 51-61 experience disability due to musculoskeletal conditions.
Between each vertebrae are discs which act like spacers or shock absorbers. Disc dehydration or injury can lead to the disc bulging like a tire with insufficient air. In severe cases the bulge leads to irritation of the nearby nerves and can cause pain. Thinning discs lessen our spinal mobility and may promote further spinal degeneration.
The vertebrae and joints may develop calcium deposits. Over time this calcium creates “bone spurs” (enlargements on the edges of the bone which can be seen on x-rays). This degenerative arthritis can lead to stiffness, lack of mobility, neck pain and back pain.
How Can Chiropractic Help?
Chiropractic is ideally suited to helping seniors live happy, healthy lives. Research suggests that individuals who receive regular chiropractic care are: more likely to report better health; less likely to be hospitalized; less likely to enter nursing homes; less likely to require prescription drugs; and more active in their communities.