Fall Prevention & Geriatric Care

"Research suggests chiropractic care can help maintain your ability to live independently and look after yourself. (Ref 1, 2)
A study conducted in the United States has shown that older adults who receive chiropractic care (compared with those who don’t) maintain their ability to carry out their activities of daily living over several years. This means that after two years of chiropractic care, older adults maintained their ability to do things like walk around their house, cook, bathe, and go shopping. Those who don’t receive chiropractic care show a decline in these areas. In other words, chiropractic care can help you maintain your ability to live independently and look after yourself.
Chiropractic care may prevent you from having a fall.
Every year, approximately one-third of older people experience one or more falls. Falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospital admissions and death in this age group. A research study conducted in New Zealand has shown chiropractic care in a group aged 65 to 89 can significantly impact several factors that influence the prevention of falls. (Ref 2)

After 12 weeks the group who received chiropractic care had become better able to know where their ankle joint was when they closed their eyes. This is likely to prevent falls, as your brain will be more accurately aware of where your foot is without you having to look at your foot while walking.

The researchers in the New Zealand study also found that older adults who received 12 weeks of chiropractic care were able to take a step much faster than a control group that did not receive chiropractic care. This is an important finding, because being able to take a fast step to correct your balance can prevent you from falling as well. And, finally, this study showed that the older adults who received the chiropractic care were able to simultaneously process visual and auditory information more accurately in their brain.

This is known to be important (Ref 4) and relevant when it comes to preventing falls. Science has shown that as we age, we appear to lose our ability to process multiple lots of sensory information accurately and that this leads to distractions that may cause falls.
What is functional ability and why is it important?
Functional ability refers to a person’s ability to carry out basic tasks of everyday life such as eating, bathing, and dressing. (Ref 1,2)

As we age, it becomes more difficult to carry out these tasks due to the decline in physical and cognitive function that often occur with aging. Slowing the rate of functional decline in older adults preserves autonomy and well-being and reduces the threat of institutionalization." — Heidi Haavik
Who is Dr. Heidi Haavik?
Dr. Heidi Haavik is a respected chiropractor and a neurophysiologist who has conducted research in the area of human neurophysiology for over a decade. Heidi has a Ph.D. in human neurophysiology from the University of Aukland. She is the Director of Research at the New Zealand College of Chiropractic, where she also runs the Centre for Chiropractic Research.
  1. Weigel, Hockenberry, Bentler, Wolinsky. The comparative effect of episodes of chiropractic and medical treatment on the health of older adults. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. Mar-Apr 2014;37(3):143-154.

  2. Weigel, Hockenberry, Wolinsky. Chiropractic use in the Medicare population: prevalence, patterns, and associations with 1-year changes in health and satisfaction with care. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. Oct 2014;37(8):542-551

  3. Holt.. Effectiveness of Chiropractic  Care in Improving Sensorimotor Function Associated with Falls Risk in Older People. Auckland, New Zealand: Department of Population Health, University of Auckland, Ph.D. thesis; 2014.

  4. Setti, Burke, Kenny, Newell. Is inefficient multisensory processing associated with falls in older people? Exp Brain Res. 2011;209:375-384

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