Posts Tagged: arthritis

Can Chiropractic Care Help Prevent Falls?

While chiropractic care has benefits for all people, the benefits to seniors can be of particular importance.

Regular Chiropractic Care Can Provide Important Benefits for Seniors

Chiropractic care increases balance and coordination: As we age, balance and coordination becomes more difficult. Studies have shown that the receptors located in the joints of the upper cervical spine are largely responsible for providing the brain with essential information important for balance and coordination. Research has also shown that injury to these “neck” receptors is a significant cause of balance and coordination problems in humans.

Studies have shown that chiropractic care can help restore balance and coordination by stimulating the joint receptors  in the cervical spine. This stimulation is thought to restore or normalize joint receptor functioning which leads to improvements in balance and coordination.

Chiropractic care can decrease injuries, including falls: Unlike when a child or athlete falls, an older person who falls is more susceptible to suffer significant injuries.

Injuries as a result of falls are a particular risk to seniors and one of the major causes of injury in the elderly:

  • Responsible for 90% of the 850,000 bone fractures which occur annually among Americans past the age of 65
  • In people over the age of 65 account for over 80% of injury related hospital admissions and they are the leading cause of accidental death
  • New Zealand: 230 deaths per year and Australia = 1000 deaths per year
  • One third of community dwelling older adults experiences one or more falls each year
  • Australia: Related health care costs estimated to be as high as $4,500,000,000 annually
  • USA: Related health-care costs as much as $30,000,000,000 annually

A report recently published on seniors’ falls in Canada by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) asserted that seniors who fall are fall are ten times more likely to be hospitalized and eight times more likely to die than are children who fall. In addition, recovery from a fall-related injury is often prolonged or incomplete, which in turn leads to a worsening of fall-related risk factors such as de-conditioning due to being sedentary.

The report says that chiropractors have an important part to play with respect to fall prevention. Not only can practitioners champion many of the interventions recommended (home safety checklists, physical activity), but some experts also suggest that chiropractic care, especially spinal manipulative therapy contributes to decreasing the risk of falls among seniors as well. Although there is at yet little medical evidence for such a contribution, there are a few studies which serve as examples of this important research direction.

The chiropractic profession in Canada has taken a leadership role in the area of fall prevention among seniors by developing a falls prevention program targeted toward both older patients and chiropractors themselves. Called The Best Foot Forward: Don’t Let A Fall Get You Down, this fall prevention program was developed in 2008 for the Canadian Chiropractic Association.

The Best Foot Forward Program was divided into two broad sections. The first section including epidemiological information, risk factors, a quiz a person could take to determine his or her risk of falling and a home safety checklist.  Please email Surrey Pain & Wellness Clinic at info@surreywellness.com to receive a copy of the checklist.

The Hip Bone’s Connected to the Thigh Bone…

Arthritis in the hip (and other parts of the body)

The hip joint is a marvellous feat of engineering and is in fact, one of the strongest and most complex joints in the human body, enabling a range of movements, including the most basic of them all –  walking.

With the complexity of the hip, there is also much that can go wrong.  To understand why, we need to know a little bit about the anatomy of the hip.   A ball and socket joint connects the hip bone to the thigh bone.  A thin, smooth, cushioning cartilage, known as articular cartilage, covers the moving surfaces inside the joint.  This serves as a shock absorber and lubrication for the bones.

Cartilage is subject to wear and tear.  If the stress on the joint is too high, articular cartilage degenerates and is worn away, leaving the bones to rub against each other, causing pain, swelling, stiffness, muscle weakness, and progressive loss of mobility.   The condition –  known as arthritis – affects a large percentage of people over the age of 50.

In advanced arthritis, the articular cartilage of the hip is completely worn away and the bones of the hip come into direct contact.  This condition, known as osteoarthritis, is a severe inflammation of the joints accompanied by chronic pain.  Another common type of arthritis that can affect the hip is rheumatoid arthritis.  This is caused by a dysfunction of the immune system.  Abnormal antibodies are produced that get deposited in the lining tissue of the joints, causing chronic inflammation and slow destruction of cartilage.  All joints may be affected by rheumatoid arthritis and both sides of the body are affected equally.

The hip joint is a ‘ball and socket’ joint that allows movement between the thigh bone (femur), and the hip bone (pelvis)

Whatever the type of arthritis, some cases can be successfully managed by conservative means such as:

– Medication
– Physiotherapy
– Weight Control
– Modification of leisure/sporting activities

Therapies at the Surrey Pain & Wellness Clinic that may be of interest for people with rheumatoid or osteoarthritis include:

Chiropractic care to help structurally realign the joint to reduce stress and slow down the damaging process.

Laser pain therapy to manage/eliminate cycles of pain and significantly reduce inflammation in the joint.  Laser therapy is completely safe for long term use in managing such severe, chronic conditions (and provides better results and longer term results than pain killers)

Customized foot orthotics can also prove valuable and are complementary to the above therapies in terms of pain relief, supporting alignment and function and therefore contributing to stability and functional motions such as walking and sports.

Managing arthritic pain can help you resume gentle activities and leisure pastimes, allowing patients at Surrey Pain & Wellness to become stronger and more mobile and an overall feeling of improved health and well being.