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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Stress and Chiropractic

We live in such a fast paced society today that being stressed just seems normal. We are always busy and have so much input coming at us from everywhere. Stress isn’t inherently a bad thing. There are times where stress is important, such as if you have a deadline coming up for work, as stress increases our productivity levels. Stress is needed in situations where there is a threat or danger present, as it allows us to respond fast and appropriately.

Stress is also what allows us to feel excited when we do things such as ride a rollercoaster, or go on a first date. But while stress is important in some situations, long term, constant stress can be detrimental to both our physical and mental health. This is because our bodies are only designed for quick bursts, “acute”, not long term ‘chronic’ stress. While there are not always things we can do about what is causing our troubles, such as a stressful job, there are things we can do to manage our stress to make sure it doesn’t start taking a toll on our mind and body.

 

How can stress affect us?

 

Chronic stress has numerous effects on our mind and body. It can have negative effects on nearly every system in our body. Some of the effects it can have include1:

  • Problems with our mental health, such as irritability, anxiety, insomnia, and depression
  • Behavioural problems such as over or under eating, alcohol or drug abuse, and social withdrawal
  • Increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and increased risk of having a stroke or hearth attack
  • Tensions headaches, tense muscles, and back pain
  • Issues with the digestive system such as acid reflux, diarrhoea, constipation, stomached, nausea, and vomiting
  • Extra blood sugar is released to help give the body extra energy, long term this can lead to increased risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Weaken the immune system and slow down healing times

How can chiropractic help manage stress?

 

As chronic stress is such a common thing in today’s society, and quite regularly hard to avoid, people will be looking for ways to manage their stress and deal with any issues their stress may be causing. While it is impossible to completely remove stress from our lives, chiropractic care is a safe, healthy, and natural way to manage, and reduces its effects on the body, to help prevent long term damage:

 

Causes.

 

  • Sleep – good quality sleep is such an important factor in dealing with chronic stress, as it lets our brain slow down and our body relax and heal. Insomnia is also one of the issues that can come around because of chronic stress. Chiropractic adjustments have been shown both to help with insomnia, and with improving quality of sleep. The better sleep we can get the better we can prevent and deal with stress2.
  • Muscle tension – when we are stressed, our muscles start to tense up in response. This creates a negative cycle, as when our muscle stay tense they start causing pain, which can end up causing more stress. Chiropractic care returns the normal motion to the spinal joints, which allows all the muscles in these areas to relax. This can help reduce pain levels, and reduces overall stress3.
  • Blood pressure – studies have been done that show that blood pressure is reduced following chiropractic treatment. This helps to reduce stress and anxiety levels4. Decrease blood pressure and more relaxed musculature helps the body feel more calm and allows the brain to switch of the flight or flight response that is constantly on during chronic stress4, 5.

 

Causes cont.

 

  • Immune system – chronic stress weakens the immune system and slows down healing time. Because chiropractic removes interference from the nervous system it allows the brain and body to communicate better. When the brain is receiving more accurate information, it can send out the messages that can improve healing and boost immune system function6.
  • Avoid unhealthy behaviors – by reducing stress levels with chiropractic care, this removes some of the temptation of dealing with stress in unhealthy ways, such as overeating or turning to alcohol or drugs. Chiropractic is a natural way of dealing with it that is safe and has little side effects.

 

 

References:

 

  1. Pietrangelo, A., & Watson, S. (2017, June 5). The effects of stress on your body. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/stress/effects-on-body#1
  2. Kingston, J., Raggio, C., Spencer, K., Stalaker, K., & Tuchin, P. J. (2010). A review of the literature on chiropractic and insomnia. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, 9(3), 121-126. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcm.2010.03.003
  3. Resources to Recover. (2019, March 12). Benefits of chiropractic care for anxiety and depression. Resources To Recover. https://www.rtor.org/2019/02/21/mental-health-and-chiropractic-care/
  4. Palmer College of Chiropractic. (2015, September 24). How can chiropractic care help alleviate stres? Palmer College of Chiropractic Blogs. https://blogs.palmer.edu/askpalmer/2015/09/24/how-to-alleviate-stress-with-chiropractic-exercises/
  5. Yates, R. G., Lamping, D. L., Abram, N. L., & Wright, C. (1988). Effects of chiropractic treatment on blood pressure and anxiety: a randomized, controlled trial. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 11(6), 484-488.
  6. Slosberg, M. (2011, May 6). Immune responses to spinal manipulation. The Chiropractic Resource Organisation. https://chiro.org/research/ABSTRACTS/Immune_Responses_to_Spinal_Manipulation.shtml

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Calm Your Nervous System

The modern era is beautiful, full of technology, plenty of food and some of us may be able to afford luxuries that were only accessible to maybe 0.5% of the population. This is because most of us now have a stable income to support the family. However, due to this stable income, we always have deadlines and criteria to meet. This may put our brain and nervous system in overdrive due to the constant stress. This state of mind means our nervous system is in a sympathetic state. Constantly being in a sympathetic state can lead to high blood pressure, being extremely fidgety and being in constant stress. So today we’ll go over a couple of ways to calm your nervous system down so you can be less stressed and enjoy your life more:

 

  1. Something we can do straight away is to take a deep breath in. Deep breathing is a great way to get your body to relax and calm down. However, most of breath with our accessory muscles (your shoulder, sternoclavicular mastoids and scales) when we are stressed. The correct way to breath in instances like this is to breathe with your diaphragm. To breathe with your diaphragm is actually easier than you think. Instead of raising your shoulders and sucking in your belly, do the opposite. Drop your shoulders and push your belly out when you are breathing in! This is something simple but very effective, so give it a go next time you need a second or two to calm down.
  2. Spend some time in nature. There is just something very relaxing about nature, it reduces fear, stress and anger. One reason being there is a fresh supply of oxygen when you are in nature. You will literally be surrounded by trees and other plants and they produce fresh negative-ion oxygen which is scientifically shown to calm you down. Another reason is due to increased exposure to natural light. Natural light is shown to improve your and regulate your sleep pattern. We know that better sleep more relaxed and balanced nervous system.
  3. Put down your device. In this modern age, we are often multitasking. From reading emails, typing up document, making an Excel spread sheet to scrolling through social media. Our minds are always occupied on what is in front of us. So drop your device, focus on one thing, and practice being mindful. It can be anything from reading a book, playing music, drawing or anything that does not require an electronic device.
  4. Finally, practicing meditation is a great way to calm your nervous system down. A lot of the time we are anxious as we are trying to think about the future and we don’t enjoy the present. Mediation is a great way to bring you back to the present. This helps quieten your brain. This does not mean we are shutting problems down and pushing them away, it just means we learn to accept them. By doing this your brain will be less stressed thus allowing you to come up with better thoughts and outcomes.

 

Due to busy schedule we are all in now, we are always anxious and stressed. This means our nervous system will constantly be in a sympathetic state and in overdrive. Those are just 4 easy things to do when we are in overdrive, there are many more. Try different techniques and see what works for you!

 

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Stress Management – 3 Ways

Mindfulness and stress are on the tips of everyone’s tongue nowadays. Large corporations are investing millions on mindfulness rooms and practices for their employees to reap the benefits and increase productivity. Meditation and stress-reduction taught in school curriculums now, because they also know the effectiveness.

It seems the hustle and bustle of everyday life is getting to our heads. It’s not natural for our circuitry to be firing constantly for so long. So how can we help support this new way of life, or at least reduce the amount of stress that affects us?

Here are our 3 top tips:

  1. Exercise/Yoga: Studies have shown that regular exercise or yoga can decrease stress, pain, and even your risk of injury. Aiming to do either one of these 3-5 times a week is ideal and does wonders to support your mind by increasing blood flow to the brain and having your focus set on something other than a screen for at least half an hour.
  2. Diaphragmatic breathing (or belly breathing): this kind of breathing calms down the nervous system and reduces the noise that goes on by getting you to focus on your breathing. Studies have demonstrated breathing exercises can reduce fatigue and anxiety. To actually benefit from the practice, it must be performed 3-5 times a day for at least 5 minutes.
  3. Meditation: once thought of as a hippie ritual, mindfulness meditation is now common practice used to help people reduce stress, anxiety, chronic pain, headaches and depression. It’s widely accessible as there are many online guides as well as apps that can help guide you through a session and all you need is yourself and a peaceful environment.

Stress is just a part of life and how you choose to manage it is up to you. Keep these tips in mind to take care of your mental health and keep your mind sharp. If you have any questions or would like more tips on stress management, please consult with a health professional.

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This blog is sponsored by Little Ninja & Priorityfitness

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Common Myth About Chiropractic

Once you start going to a chiropractor you can’t stop

If you are seeing a chiropractor or have mentioned you are considering it to a friend you may have heard this little lie “once you start going to a chiropractor you can’t stop”.

This myth may be because many people who start going to a chiropractor do in fact continue to go even after their initial care phase. This isn’t because they have to but because they choose to. The reality is that with any health choice it takes sustained effort to maintain results. Think about it, if you have a terrible diet of lots of takeaway food and soft drinks which has caused weight gain and you clean up your diet and lose the weight, do you think you will keep the weight off if you return to your old habits? Of course, this would be foolish to think!

The same is true with spinal health and strength; if you start utilising chiropractic, postural awareness and exercise to improve your strength and pain. Then going back to your old habits will most likely get you back to the same place that you started with.

For those who want a bit of research about this topic click the link below to s study performed in 2011 that demonstrated better pain and disability outcomes with ongoing “maintenance” care (fortnightly chiropractic adjustments) compared to those who only received an initial care phase of one month.

So the truth to the myth that “once you start chiropractic you can’t stop” is that once you start chiropractic you can CHOOSE to continue reaping the benefits of a stronger, more mobile and coordinated spine or you can CHOOSE not to. As with most things in life, the outcome is down to the choices you consistently make!

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21245790

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Taking Control of Stress

Control? Why?

 

Work, kids, school, money, exercise, eating… What do these all have in common? Well, they can stress you out to the point of ripping your hair out OR inspire and motivate you to get out of bed and do what you do every single day. The KEY is to find your stress sweet spot and use it to fast track your goals, and potential.

Too much stress can get in the way of you and your goals… Maybe even lead to you crashing and burning. However, too little stress can slow down your progress because you’ll get bored. Let’s find out how to hit that optimal point of stress to keep you at the top of your game.

First, let’s go through the difference between a positive and negative stress response. Stressors aren’t necessarily good OR bad, it depends on your response. A positive response means you’re feeling energized, focused, pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone, balancing stress and rest, and learning and growing through the process. A negative response leads to you feeling weak, distracted, in need of rest, not challenging yourself, and can even lead to weight gain and metabolic, hormonal, and immunity disruptions.

 

How do I deal with this?

 

How? Well first you’ve got to recognize what factors are out of your control and more importantly, which factors are IN your control. Also, if you’re stress resistant by nature and have had lots of practice at handling stress growing up, your view on stress may be that it is a challenge to tackle. But if you’re stress prone and have had little practice dealing with stress, you may find yourself looking at stress as a problem to avoid. If you’re having a hard time changing your attitude and view on stress, look at building a strong support network and changing your environment to have more time outdoors in nature or with loved ones.

It’s important that you look at your current stress load and ask yourself “does it have to be that high or that low?” Think about your goals and how your actions align. Find out what’s worth taking out or adding in.

 

What does it feel like?

  • Too low: bored, unfocused, purposeless
  • Too high: anxious or obsessive, panicked, stuck
  • Just enough: energized, engaged, actively moving towards goals

 

A great way to address inspiration and energy is to learn how to set effective goals. We’ll be releasing a blog post diving into this topic further in the near future. But until then, go read up on the last blog titled “How NOT to set goals”. Do this too get started on the perspective you should be taking when approaching goals.

For rest and recovery, there are many things that you can do! A lot of it depends on personal preference, but here are 4 examples to get you started.

  1. Practice relaxing activities: Walking, massage, deep breathing, laughing, yoga, meditation, and even (especially) sex, which is not always relaxing.
  2. Get outside: take your walk outside for improved mood and lower stress hormones and heart rate. Getting moderate sun exposure is ideal and helps increase mood and vitamin D levels.
  3. Adjust your exercise routine: the most effective way to approach this is with a mix of strength training (weights), conditioning (cardio, intervals) and low-intensity recovery (walk)
  4. Practice self-compassion: ask for help when you need it. Get counseling if you’re feeling helpless, know your limits and unplug regularly.

If you follow and apply these recommendations you’ll be well on your way to taking control of your stress. Stay tuned for more valuable blog posts!

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Breathe Deep

In a given day how often do you breathe deeply? In a stressed out world you can unconsciously end up breathing short and shallow breaths, this can reduce oxygen intake and further drive the stress response.

Breathing is an interesting function of the body and arguably the only one that is both unconscious and consciously controlled. Think about it, until you start dreading this you were breathing without paying attention to it. It happens automatically. But you can also slow down or speed up your breathing pattern at your own will.

Rapid, shallow breathing is a natural response to a stressful situation. Deeper, slower breathing is a natural response when you are relaxed. Taking conscious control of your breathing during the day, especially when you are stressed, can help calm your nervous system so it can focus on healing, digesting and creativity.

Try this simple breathing exercise each day to calm you mind and body.

4-7-8 Breathing

This technique was developed by Dr Andrew Weil as a great technique to calm your body when lying in bed at night to assist you falling asleep or to calm your mind and body during the day.

  • Exhale forcefully through the mouth
  • Close your mouth and silently breathe in through the nose as you mentally count to 4
  • Hold the breath for a count of 7
  • Exhale forcefully through the mouth for a count of 8

Do this a total of four times and repeat twice daily to maximise the benefits of the technique. The ratio of the inhalation to exhalation is more important than the overall length of time. At first you may not be able to hold your breath very long so count faster but as your body becomes more efficient over time you will find that you can really slow the process down.

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Consistency With Healthy Lifestyle Habits

If you’re like most people, at some point in life, you try to stick to habits and recommendations that you know would be good for you, but they just never happen. You tend to look down on yourself after and think of yourself as lazy. The truth is, if you’re not doing it, it probably just means that it’s not high enough on your priority list.

“Go to bed early? I’d rather scroll through Instagram for an hour and see what’s going on in the world”

“Go for a workout? I think I’ll postpone it and go home instead. I’m drained”

… Later on, you end up kicking yourself for it. And the cycle repeats itself.

“Why can’t I ever just stick to the $%@&!*# plan?” Well, for starters, probably because other plans don’t account for your life. They don’t offer sustainable, step-by-step that you can actually do in your real life… The kind of life actual human beings have.

So what can help you in your search for consistency? Support, care and accountability. There are 2 avenues you can take with this to ensure proper results.

 

I. Find accountability in a program that actually works.

 

The ideal program provides:

  • A focus on all the things that are right with you, and all the strengths and skills you already have
  • Results that lots of people have benefited from
  • Personalization to your lifestyle so that you can keep the consistency even when you’re busy
  • Solutions that you actually enjoy
  • Lasting results… for life.

But how do you know if a program will keep you accountable? Here are a few things to look for:

  • A plan that provides both structure and flexibility
  • Customizable based on your skill levels, goals and time available
  • Daily reminders to practice whichever lifestyle habit you’re working on
  • Measuring your progress at regular intervals

 

II. Find a person you can make yourself accountable to and really cares.

 

As people, finding social support, whether it be from your friend, your spouse, your dog, your chiropractor, whatever – is crucial.

Don’t try to do it all alone.

Independence is great, but for something worth doing, you need a team of like-minded people that you can count on. Find one or more people who can support you, guide you, help you and give you the occasional loving kick in the ass when you need it.

The important thing is to make yourself accountable to somebody and get the help you need. With so much going on in boxing ring life, it helps to have a solid team in your corner.

 

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Symptoms and treatment of Muliple Sclerosis

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the primary demyelination and neuro-degeneration over disperse areas of the grey and white matter of the brain and spinal cord.  Chronic inflammation of the CNS is the primary cause. Most patients with MS initially present with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RPMS). In addition, a second phase, known as the secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS), can follow.

However, patients that do not experience both RPMS and SPMS suffer from primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS). It results in an uninterrupted progression of the disease. Due to the nature of this disease, half of the patients diagnosed with MS need assistance with mobility 20years after being diagnosed. Progressively 50 percent of the patients will have developed noticeable cognitive deficits.

The chronic nature of this disease may cause patients to develop a disability over time due to incomplete recovery from the previous attack. MS is a disease with no fixed symptoms and is difficult to predict in an individual patient. Thus the most appropriate treatment for patients with MS is to educate them about the variable nature of this disease.

Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

Clinicians characterize Multiple Sclerosis by individual distinct episodes known as “attacks” and “relapses” of neurologic dysfunction. The symptoms produced by these individual episodes may vary depending on the location of neurologic involvement.

Some common symptoms may include:

– Numbness
– Tingling
– Weakness
– Loss of vision
– Gait impairment
– Incoordination
– Imbalance
– Loss of bladder control

More commonly a patient who suffers from multiple sclerosis may experience motor weakness. Motor weakness usually associates with upper motor neuron signs such as mild spasticity, hyperreflexia, and pathologic signs. In between when the symptoms occur the patient may experience neurological stability, often with no symptoms; the relapsing-remitting phase (RRMS). As a result, 10 – 20 years after the first occurrence of the symptoms RRMS may progress to SPMS, which results in an insidious worsening of function and neurologic disability.

Progression of Multiple Sclerosis

As MS progresses further the signs first observed may worsen and new presentations may occur. The recent criteria, provided by McDonald, states that MRIs can enable earlier diagnosis of MS. However, despite the advanced technology we have today, clinical evaluation of the differential diagnosis proves to be the best method to diagnose MS. In addition, many orthopedic tests, observed appearances, and other neurological tests can help narrow down the possibility of MS.

Treatment Options

Integrative care with multidisciplinary health care professions is the way to approach the care of multiple sclerosis. There is no care that can help benefit a patient with multiple sclerosis. However, care that can help in the reduction of the number of attacks, the severity, addressing the adverse effects on daily living, and how the disease affects the psychosocial aspects of the patient is the best management scheme possible.

Chiropractor Auckland - Multiple Sclerosis

 

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