One of the many pleasures in life that most people take for granted is the ability to move their bodies freely and without stiffness and pain. Many elderly people, especially those who have developed mobility problems due to chronic medical conditions, are used to spending weeks or even months indoors, with infrequent trips out to a shop or café. If you struggle with mobility issues, chiropractic can help. Here’s what you need to know.
Those who have family carers to take them out are the lucky ones, many others are effectively stranded at home, and this simply worsens physical health, and can cause mental health problems associated with loneliness and isolation.
Joint mobility is an important part of a healthy and properly functioning body. Many of our patients first come to us complaining of severe low back pain that came on suddenly. They were performing a simple task like picking something up off the floor or tying their shoe and were suddenly in pain. This type of lower back pain doesn’t just happen to our older patients people in their 30s can experience it just as quickly as those in their 80s. The common factor for this type of pain is a lack of joint mobility.
MAINTAIN JOINT MOBILITY
Part of maintaining a healthy body is a lifestyle that focuses on posture, balance, strength, and mobility. Along with regular chiropractic adjustments, the chiropractors at Shields Chiropractic can recommend specific exercises and stretches to keep muscles, ligaments, and tendons strong and flexible. Stretching can also help keep joints lubricated and moving properly.
CHIROPRACTIC CARE AND YOUR ABILITY TO MOVE
If your joints don’t move as they should, other parts of your body will work overtime to compensate. This puts a lot of unnecessary stress on those areas, leading to pain and inflammation. When normal movement isn’t possible, that pain will only worsen as muscles in the area become tight, causing tendons and ligaments to shorten and stick together.
Our bodies were made to move and when we don’t move, stretch, and exercise, we stiffen up! This stiffness eventually causes the slightest movements (like sneezes!) to become painful. At Chirofamilypractice, we can help with readjusting the spine and joints and returning proper alignment with regular chiropractic adjustments.
OLDER PEOPLE AND THEIR PROBLEMS WITH MOBILITY
The changes that occur with aging can lead to problems with mobility, or a person’s ability to move around. Mobility problems may be unsteadiness while walking, difficulty getting in and out of a chair, or falls. There are common conditions in older people that can contribute to mobility problems, such as muscle weakness, joint problems, pain, disease, and neurological (brain and nervous system) difficulties. Sometimes several mild problems occur at one time and combine to seriously affect mobility.
The number one mobility problem that older people experience is falls
Falls result in broken bones, bruises, and fear of falling. Older bones break more easily than younger bones and they heal less quickly and not as completely. If a hip is fractured, canes, walkers, or wheelchairs might be needed permanently. Falls are a major cause of injury and death, so prevention is important.
The United Chiropractic Association (UCA) says that by literally taking steps now, older people could add years to their active lives – and it would save the NHS many millions of pounds each year.
The UCA’s message is “move better, live better”. Simply standing up or moving around the house at regular intervals can help maintain a healthy heart and appropriate blood sugar and blood pressure levels. “A lack of balance and a fear of falling are preventing this for a lot of people yet it’s been shown that this doesn’t have to be the case. The evidence is out there that chiropractic has a big role to play.”
Chiropractic care is linked to a reduced risk of falls in the elderly – see recent research results.
An injury from a fall may result in limited or reduced mobility or even bed rest. Unfortunately, this can worsen existing medical illnesses and lead to new ones such as circulatory problems including blood clots in the legs, further loss of strength, pressure ulcers, or pneumonia.
ENCOURAGE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
When older people have fallen—even if the fall isn’t serious—they often become fearful of falling again. This can lead to inactivity which can cause additional health problems. One of the most important things you can do to help someone with mobility problems and fear of falling is to encourage physical activity. Even a little activity strengthens bones and muscles, improves steadiness when walking, and helps prevent fractures. If the older person is afraid of falling, suggest using a cane or a walker. Sometimes older people are afraid they will not be able to get up from a fall. It is important to learn how to get up from a fall before the fall occurs. In some cases, it can be helpful for the older person to practice getting up from the floor. In addition to helping the older person stay active, you can help prevent falls and fractures by doing a home safety check and correcting conditions that could lead to falls.
Read more about the Quality of Life in Older Adults on our blog.
If you are trying to manage immobility or would like to learn more about how chiropractic can benefit you, click here to connect. Our effective, gentle, and targeted chiropractic treatments may be just what your body needs to get mobility back!