Family wellness series - late adulthood and seniors
Chiropractic and massage care to alleviate aging conditions
Author: Meagan Roback, RMT
We try to aim to address concerns ahead of time, but there are things that creep up as we get older. It’s no secret that the body tends to degenerate as we age, but there are ways to help slow this process down significantly.
Conditions affecting the muscles, skeleton, ligaments, joints, tendons - basically all facets of the body’s ability to move well - can affect the overall health, quality of life and independence of an individual. There’s the everyday aches and pains, but also fall-related injuries. Why it’s important for this in particular is that there’s been studies to show the risk of morbidity and even mortality can increase significantly after a fall.
Chiropractors and massage therapists can help address current ailments and following proper care protocols can help maintain mobility function. One of the biggest ways to ensure healthy aging is the ability to keep moving and enjoying activities of daily living with little pain or limitations. Anywhere from moderate level of physical activity like taking a 20 minute walk can improve balance, endurance and bone strength. It can also be a big factor in preventing arthritis. You can learn more about that here.
Here are some of the benefits of massage therapy and chiropractic care for common experiences of aging:
Research studies show that regular care often decreases pain, decreases stiffness, and improves functional capabilities. It allows a higher quality of life until the next session and can help alleviate the symptoms over time with regular care. Chiropractic care is safe for those with arthritis or low bone density and/or osteoporosis – as care for seniors involves gentle, low force muscle and joint release.
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
Since touch is an important method of communicating with those diagnosed with various dementia diseases, massage therapy is often considered beneficial for calming and relaxing the person suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Immune system function
Seniors who receive regular massage therapy will also notice improvement in their immune system with faster healing of injuries. Blood flow, lymph circulation and flexibility are improved with therapy, as well as overall pain relief for aches and pains that seniors often face. Seniors will also recognize less anxiety, tension, and stress, as well as temporary relief from depression. Chiropractic care ensures that the spine is working correctly, which means the information from the brain through the spine to the lymphatic system is functioning well.
Help sore muscles heal faster
As more seniors live healthier lives and stay active longer, they will have more sore and pulled muscles from physical activities. Massage therapy helps muscles and other soft tissues regain their natural blood flow and function, thus helping sore muscles heal faster.
Over time, spinal discs, facet joints, ligaments, muscles and other spinal tissues become weaker, less hydrated, more fibrotic, and less able to withstand normal stresses. As a result, pain from spinal degeneration (for example, arthritis) becomes more prominent, tissue injury from relatively benign events occurs more rapidly, and time needed to heal from injuries increases. Chiropractic care helps reduce spinal pain, spinal stresses are decreased, flexibility and mobility are improved, and degeneration is minimized.
Improve overall health
Massage therapy helps improve range of motion, muscle tone and posture. It also has emotional benefits since the power of touch has long been recognized. Chiropractic care for seniors also aids in maintaining balance and coordination, helping to minimize the risk of falls.
Seeking complementary care can help manage pain, increase balance, correct posture, improve range of motion and overall mechanical function, as well as decrease progression of degeneration. The best approach is to seek care early and continue well into your golden years.