Injury Prevention and Chiropractic

Injury Prevention and Chiropractic

More and more people are becoming aware of how beneficial chiropractic care is when they have sustained an injury. However, what people may not be aware of is that chiropractic care can actually help prevent injuries. Injury prevention is important for all types of people, from elite athletes to elderly people. Being injured can slow us down from living our lives to our full potential. Here are some ways that chiropractic can help prevent injuries from occurring.

 

By making sure your structure is strong:

Chiropractic addresses specific joints within the body, usually within the spine, and makes sure they are functioning correctly. Malfunctioning of spinal joints can affect the overall structure of the spine and place excess stress in some areas. These areas of weakness can leave you more vulnerable to an injury than you would normally be. When chiropractors find and adjust these segments of the spine, your structure becomes much more strong and stable. A stable structure ensures that there aren’t weak spots left vulnerable to injury. While chiropractors usually deal with the spine, they are also trained in checking and adjusting extremities. They make sure that the structure of these is also strong and stable in order to minimize the chance of injury.

 

By improving your sense of body awareness and balance:

Chiropractors aren’t only affecting the spine, but also the nervous system that runs through it. A proper function of the spine allows the nervous system that runs through it to transfer messages between the brain and the body accurately. If the transfer works at its best, it allows your brain to receive the best possible information about where your body is in space. This helps improve balance, decrease clumsiness, and improve reaction times to the environment around you. This body awareness is beneficial to all types of people of all ages. It can help young children decrease clumsiness and minimize the chance of any accidents or injuries. It also improves the balance in the elderly, because falls are a major cause of serious injury. Finally, the athletes can benefit from better perceiving where their body is. This can result in the prevention of numerous injuries that come along with all different types of sport and exercise.

 

By increasing healing times:

A proper-working nervous system also allows your brain to better perceive what is happening within your body. This is extremely beneficial when it comes to injury prevention. Minor injuries can often get worse and turn into more serious injuries. When your brain is able to detect these little things easier, you become much more aware of your body. Minor injuries that may have gone unnoticed previously, you may now become aware of more easily. This allows you to take the proper precautions to let this heal properly before placing more stress on the injury, and aggravating it so it becomes more serious. On top of this having a well-functioning nervous system increases healing times. This means that minor injuries will heal much faster, reducing the amount of time that your body is left susceptible to further, more serious injuries.

 

Common benefits of Chiropractic Care

 

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Disc Herniations and Chiropractic

What is a disc/inter-verterbal disc?

Our spines are made up of bones called vertebrae. In between each of these bones, we have discs that cushion our vertebrae and act as shock absorbers. The disc has a tough outer layer, called the annulus, and a soft inner center called the nucleus.

What is a disc herniation?

A disc herniation is when the soft inner nucleus pushes out of the annulus into the spinal canal. The spinal canal only has limited space, so when the nucleus of the disc starts protruding into the spinal canal it can put pressure on the nerves within the canal. As a result, this can cause pain and other symptoms. Moreover, this can happen anywhere in the spine but usually occurs in the lower back or the neck.

What are the symptoms of disc herniations in the lower back?

Symptoms caused by a disc herniation in the lower back include lower back pain, numbness, pain, tingling, or burning. The burning starts in the buttock and radiates down the leg and sometimes into the foot. Usually, only one side is affected. In addition, pain is usually exacerbated by standing, walking, sitting, and straightening the painful leg.

What are the symptoms of disc herniations in the neck?

In the neck, symptoms include neck pain, pain in between the shoulder blades; numbness, pain, tingling, or burning. The burning starts down the arms and sometimes into the hands and fingertips. Moreover, the pain can be exacerbated by certain neck positions and movement. As well as coughing, sneezing, or straining. In addition, disc herniations can cause weakness in the affected limb.

An injury usually causes disc herniations to that area of the spine. Still, in people with degenerating discs, it can sometimes just take a small exertion or twist of the spine to cause a herniation. Risk factors for disc herniation include smoking, being overweight, incorrect lifting technique, repetitive strenuous activities, or a sedentary lifestyle. Moreover, 30-50 years old is the most common age to develop a disc herniation, but it can happen outside of this age range. In addition, men are twice as likely as women to experience a disc herniation2.

How can chiropractic help with disc herniations?

There are many ways that chiropractic care can help with disc herniations.

Prevention:

Firstly, by preventing them from happening in the first place. Chiropractic is all about optimizing nervous system function. This helps to make sure all of the muscles around our spine are activated and working at their best. As a result, when muscles around our spine aren’t working properly, this leaves our spine vulnerable and more susceptible to a disc herniation if we sustain an injury.

Proper Movement and Support:

Secondly, chiropractic can prevent a disc herniation by making sure the joint is moving properly. Chiropractic restores proper joint biomechanics, and when joints are moving properly this decreases the likelihood of degeneration. Importantly, as degeneration is a major risk factor for disc herniation, this is an important part of preventing disc herniations.

Improves healing:

Thirdly, it is important to try and prevent disc herniations from happening in the first place. However, you could still sustain an injury that causes a disc herniation. Chiropractic is beneficial in the healing process for this. As chiropractic impacts the nervous system, it impacts our body’s healing capabilities. As a result, a nervous system free of interference is able to better heal injuries such as a disc herniation fast and effectively. Therefore, chiropractic returns normal movement and function to the spine.

In addition, along with proper exercises and stretches, a spine that is moving and functioning properly is more likely to heal properly. In conclusion, this decreases the chance of needing surgery for the disc herniation.

Other options

There are many different types of surgery for disc herniations, which can involve removing bone, removing discs, or fusing multiple levels of the spine together. However, this is usually the last resort for extreme cases, as it is extremely invasive. Moreover, it can cause further issues down the road. Chiropractic is safe and non-invasive, and can drastically reduce your chances of needing surgery. As a result, your body is able to heal naturally, resulting in less chance of re-injury and further complications.

References:

  1. American Association of Neurological Surgeons. (2019). Herniated disc – Symptoms, causes, prevention and treatments. https://www.aans.org/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Herniated-Disc
  2. Southern Cross. (2017, December). Herniated disc – symptoms, treatment, surgery. https://www.southerncross.co.nz/group/medical-library/herniated-slipped-disc-symptoms-treatment-surgery
  3. Grassi, R. (2019, June 26). Chiropractic care for degenerative disc disease. Spine Universe. https://www.spineuniverse.com/conditions/degenerative-disc/chiropractic-care-degenerative-disc-disease
  4. Pietrangelo, A. (2017, April 21). Herniated disc surgery: What to expect. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/bone-health/herniated-disk-surgery#surgeries
  5. Santilli, V., Beghi, E., & Finucci, S. (2006). Chiropractic manipulation in the treatment of acute back pain and sciatica with disc protrusion: A randomized double-blind clinical trial of active and simulated spinal manipulations. The Spine Journal, 6(2), 131-137. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.spinee.2005.08.001

 

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Disc Herniation - Auckland Chiropractor

Chiropractic and Wellbeing of the Elderly Population

Introduction

Chiropractic can benefit anyone at any age, as we all have spines and nervous systems that need to be looked after. Chiropractic can provide many benefits to people in the elderly population. Therefore, it can have a positive effect on many aspects of their lives. This is especially important as we have an aging population, and need to look after these members of our community. Here are 4 ways chiropractic can help have a positive effect on the wellbeing of the elderly population.

 

Balance

As we age our balance progressively worsens. This creates an increased risk of falling. Falling has more serious consequences as we age because our bodies gradually become more fragile. Falls are a major health concern in the elderly population. They can cause injury, loss of independence and quality of life, and in serious cases even death. Falls account for over 80% of hospital admissions for injuries in people over 65. Moreover, they are the leading cause of injury related death for this population. In addition, falling has a high health care cost associated with them, which is only going to increase with our aging population.

Chiropractic allows better communication between the brain and the body. This helps with balance and preventing falls in multiple ways. Firstly, it increases our reaction time which makes us more likely to be able to catch ourselves if we trip. Secondly, it allows us to more accurately know where our body parts are in space, which leaves us less vulnerable to falling. And thirdly, it increases our ability to integrate our senses from external factors and respond to them faster and more appropriately.

Pain

Chiropractic is probably most well known for its ability to assist with musculoskeletal issues and pain. And this is no different in the elderly population. They may have pain for different reasons such as injury from a fall, or due to the degeneration process. By restoring the proper joint biomechanics in the spine, the spine moves better and allows the muscles in these areas to relax. As a result, this often leads to less pain. Moreover, chiropractic allows better communication between the brain and the body, which allows the body to heal itself better and faster if there are any injuries there causing pain. As many older adults are on multiple medications, chiropractic is a great, natural way to reduce the need for painkillers for musculoskeletal issues and pain. As a result, this may lead to reducing the overall side effects someone may experience from taking multiple medications2.

 

Mobility

Chiropractic restores normal movement of spinal joints as well as extremities. As a result, this not only improves motion for that joint but also an overall range of motion for the whole spine/extremity. Importantly, elderly people are then more likely to be able to continue with activities that they enjoy doing e.g. gardening, walking, playing with grandchildren. Moreover, when we return normal motion to these joints, we also take the stress away from them. In addition, when we decrease the stress on these joints and improve movement, we are also slowing the degenerative process3.

 

Mental Health

When you combine all of the above points, this has an amazing impact on the overall quality of life of older adults. Importantly, when they have increased mobility and decreased pain, they are more likely to be able to keep exercising and doing things they enjoy. Moreover, remain independent. Remaining independent is very important to older adults and has extremely positive effects on their mental health. In conclusion, the longer they can remain independent, the better their mental health and overall wellbeing will be. Moreover, chiropractic helps improve quality of sleep, all contributing to improved mental health and quality of life4.

 

 

 

References:

 

  1. Holt, K. R., Noone, P. L., Short, K., Elley, C. R., & Haavik, H. (2011). Fall risk profile and quality of life status of older chiropractic patients. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 34(2), 78-87. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmpt.2010.12.01078.
  2. Vindigni, D., Zark, L., Sundberg, T., Leach, M., Adams, J., & Azari, M. F. (2019). Chiropractic treatment of older adults with neck pain with or without headache or dizziness. Analysis of 288 Australian chiropractors’ self-reported views. Chiropractic & Manual Therapies, 27(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12998-019-0288-1.
  3. Brantingham, J., Snyder, R., & Biedebach, D. (1994, March 25). Spinal manipulation may help reduce spinal degenerative joint disease and disability. The Chiropractic Resource Organisation. https://chiro.org/ChiroZine/ABSTRACTS/Degenerative_Joint_Disease_and_Disability.shtml.
  4. Ohio State Chiropractic Association. (n.d.). Chiropractic care for seniors. Senior Citizens Guide. https://www.seniorcitizensguide.com/articles/southwestohio/chiropractic-care-for-seniors.htm.

 

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The Falls and The Elderly

Falls and the elderly

Falls are the main cause of morbidity and disability in the elderly. More than one-third of persons 65 years of age or older fall each year, and in half of such cases, the falls are recurrent. The risk doubles or triples in the presence of cognitive impairment or history of previous falls.

Reducing the risk of a fall has a few factors to it, the balance being a major one. In addition, the ability of your brain to recognize where your limbs are in space (proprioception is the technical term for those who are interested). 

An interesting study demonstrated improved stepping reaction time and ankle joint position awareness following 12 weeks of chiropractic care.  Although this is only one study, it does show improvements in factors linked with falls risk and stability.

It’s noteworthy that the participants in this study were all in their mid-sixties and older. You are never too young or too old to benefit from utilizing chiropractic care to improve the function of your nervous system and spine!

 

Falls in the elderly

 

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Why You Should Exercise As You Get Older

Introduction

For many years we have heard the term “use it or lose it.” This term seems to be the best way to describe the problems we face as we age. There have been many researches showing the correlation between inactivity and diseases and disorders in the elderly population. Our muscles are quite important as we get older, they can provide the body with amino acids which can be used as energy for various organs. The maintenance of strong muscles is crucial for preventing metabolic diseases and aid in healthy aging.

 

Reduced risk of falling

Falls can be a major risk as we get older. Around 30 percent of elderly people aged over 65 falls at least once a year. So what should you do to prevent your muscles becoming weaker? Exercise of course! Some people believe that exercise may make you more prone to falls. However, that is a common myth and it is quite the opposite. Exercising can help improve overall strength, co-ordination and balance making you less likely to fall. Research has shown that physical stress placed on our bone structure during exercise can stimulate the growth of new bone tissue as well making it less likely to fracture.

 

Improvement in mental health

As we get older our brain function can also decline. Being active as we get older can help improve brain cognition, prevent memory loss and can help with multitasking. Physical activity may also help slow the progression of brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

 

Helps you maintain a healthy posture

As we get older and we do not stay active, our spinal muscles that surround our spine become weak. The spinal muscles help stabilise our spine and keep it erect. However, with a sedentary lifestyle, the muscles that hold up our spine can weaken, ultimately creating a structural shift within the spine itself. These structural shifts can cause damage to the spine, discs, surrounding ligaments and muscles leading to constant pain.

 

Conclusion

Many people often are stuck with the mindset that exercise can only be done when we are young. Well research shows different. It is never too late to exercise, many of the benefits that come with exercising can be obtained once started. Inactivity can rapidly decline a person’s health when we’re older. Start exercising now and watch yourself feel 100 times better straight away!

 

Exercise is good not only for the young ones

 

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Can Chiropractic Help Improve Gait In Elderly?

Introduction

Gait is the process by which a movement occurs through periods of unloading and loading of our limbs. Gait includes all forms of locomotion; running, hopping, skipping, and cycling. However, walking is the most used form of gait. It provides us with independence for many of our activities of daily living. A normal gait requires the body to co-ordinate with other organs such as our ears, eyes, brain, muscles, and sensory nerves. When one of these areas is lacking, difficulty in performing a normal gait may arise.

There is a variety of research concerning traumatic injuries in the elderly population. Ages range from 55 – 80 years of age. A leading cause of injury in the geriatric population is falling.

 

Gait and the elderly population

According to the New Zealand ACC statistics in 2016, there were 138 304  new claims in people aged 65 years and older. As a result, consequences from these falls may lead to restrictions in their activities of daily living. And finally a loss of independence.

Common symptoms associated with gait are difficulty walking, trouble with balance, and unsteadiness. These gait and balance problems can come temporarily through trauma, injury, inflammation, and pain.

A fall is a common cause of injury in the elderly

 

According to recent research, fall risks are a concern for morbidity and mortality in the elderly. Falls play a very significant role in the causes of death, injury, and loss of quality of life. Falls account for more than 80% of injury-related hospital expenses in adults over 65 years old. As a result, every year, one-third of the community elderly’s have more than one fall. Falls happen when an individual is unable to maintain the center of gravity within the base of support provided by their feet.

The research has identified many risk factors that increase the risk of falls in elderly patients. These risk factors include age, lower limb disorders, and balance disorders. If there is a combination of these risks present, the chance of falling may increase to up to 80% per year.

 

How can chiropractic help?

Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on improving neuromuscular dysfunction. Chiropractors look after the nervous system and the spine by correcting Vertebral Subluxations.

Vertebral Subluxation is described as an interference with the normal function of the nervous system. These vertebral subluxations can come from any aspect of an individual’s life such as stress, trauma, or chemical imbalances. They are the underlying causes of many health problems including gait and balance. A vertebral subluxation is defined as a joint in the spine that is not moving correctly, and that is negatively impacting health and well-being.

Research has shown that an adjustment to the spine increases joint function and contraction of muscles around the area. It gives strength and stability to the spine. Ultimately chiropractic adjustments can help the elderly be less prone to injury due to falls.

 

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