Studies Showing How Chiropractic Care Benefits the Elderly

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Chiropractic Care as a Treatment Option

It appears as if Americans are more concerned and engaged with healthcare than ever before. Perhaps this is due to the emergence of the Affordable Care Act, which has placed health in sharper focus. It might also be due to the increase in the number of serious medical issues suffered by Americans.

There are now more treatment options available to seniors than ever before, including orthopedists, physical therapists, family practice physicians, and chiropractors. The latter treatment option is growing in popularity to potentially a huge market. At present, there are an estimated 37 million seniors (aged 65+) in the United States; this figure is set to rise to 54 million by 2020.

At present, the main age range for the chiropractic market is 45-55, but the range of studies showing how chiropractic care can benefit seniors is sure to change everything. Below, we look at some studies that suggest chiropractic treatment is one of the best ways to relieve pain and enjoy an improved quality of life in your golden years.

Can Neck Manipulation Prevent Falls?

According to a study published by The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, neck manipulation could potentially reduce the risk of falls in the elderly. Dizziness has been identified as a major cause of falls, and vestibular disorders are typically believed to be the main reason for dizziness.

It is common for elderly patients to have chronic neck pain and non-specific dizziness at the same time. These dual symptoms are the chief risk factors for falls, which happen to be the #1 cause of injuries (both fatal and nonfatal) in seniors.

Spinal manipulation is a common chiropractic method of treating neck pain. According to a study published in Spine journal in 2014, a combination of home exercise and spinal manipulation is effective when treating neck pain. The article published in the Canadian journal acknowledged that more in-depth research is necessary, but chiropractic treatment could prove to be a useful tool when combating dizziness in the elderly.

Chiropractic Care vs. Medical Only Care

In a study entitled Chiropractic and Care for the Elderly, researchers (led by Dr. Ian Coulter) looked at over 400 seniors (average age of 80) and compared those who had regular chiropractic care with those that did not. The results significantly favored those who visited a chiropractor.

  • In the non-chiropractic group, only 68 percent rated their health as “Excellent” or “Good” compared to 87 percent in the chiropractic group.
  • While 32 percent of those in the non-chiropractic group rated their health as “Fair” or “Poor,” only 13 percent of the chiropractic group responded in the same fashion.
  • 66 percent of those in the non-chiropractic group said they had arthritis compared to just 44 percent in the chiropractic group.
  • After three years, 48 percent of patients in the non-chiropractic group used a nursing home compared to just 5 percent of those in the chiropractic group.
  • After three years, 48 percent of non-chiropractic group patients were hospitalized compared to just 26 percent of those in the chiropractic group.
  • In general, chiropractic patients were more likely to partake in strenuous exercise.

In addition, a study from the University of Iowa analyzed data performed by the CMS relating to 1,057 seniors in receipt of Medicare. In it, researchers found that seniors who had regular chiropractic sessions were less likely to suffer from declines in functional health.

The report concluded that chiropractic therapy in seniors provides “substantial benefits” to senior functional ability and self-rated health.

Improved Balance and Coordination

A study published in the Textbook of Medical Physiology found that chiropractic care could assist in restoring the balance and coordination of seniors through the stimulation of joint receptors in the cervical spine.

This stimulation is believed to normalize or stabilize joint receptor function, and the result is an improvement in balance and coordination. Once again, the chances of suffering a fall are reduced; according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 95 percent of hip fractures suffered by senior citizens in the United States are caused by falls.


Chiropractic treatment has been used to help improve the standard of living enjoyed by senior citizens for a number of years; however, it is only recently that the body of evidence to support the use of chiropractic has become widely available. As an increasing number of people become aware of the benefits of regular chiropractic treatment, we expect a significant increase in the number of seniors using it to improve their functional health.

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