The 2016 study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics called “Effectiveness of Chiropractic Care to Improve Sensorimotor Function Associated with Falls Risk in Older People: A Randomized Controlled Trial”.
One of the greatest health risks which will influence the quality of life for the elderly is the loss or deterioration of balance and coordination. Over 300,000 older people are hospitalized for hip fractures every year. More than ninety-five percent of hip fractures are caused by falling. Interestingly, the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries(TBI) are also from falls. Balance and coordination begin in the brain. Chiropractic can play a role with improvements of balance, coordination, and help with the prevention of falls because of the spine’s intimate connection with the brain and central nervous system function. This study evaluated the influence of a chiropractic adjustment on sensorimotor function, postural stability, joint proprioception, and physical quality of life.
▪ This study assessed the effectiveness of chiropractic care on improving sensorimotor function associated with fall risk, compared with no intervention, in community-dwelling older adults living in Auckland, New Zealand.
▪ Sixty community-dwelling adults older than 65 years were enrolled in the study.
▪ Outcome measures were assessed at baseline, 4 weeks, and 12 weeks and included proprioception (ankle joint position sense), postural stability (static posturography), sensorimotor function (choice stepping reaction time), multi-sensory integration (sound-induced flash illusion), and health-related quality of life (SF-36).
▪ Over 12 weeks, the chiropractic group improved compared with the control group in choice stepping reaction time and sound-induced flash illusion.
▪ Ankle joint position sense also improved across the 4- and 12-week assessments for the chiropractic group. ▪ Improvements were also seen between weeks 4 and 12 in the SF-36 physical component of quality of life compared with control.
▪ Sensorimotor function and multi-sensory integration associated with fall risk improved in older adults receiving chiropractic care compared with the similar adults not receiving chiropractic care.
▪ Improvements in physical quality of life was also associated with those receiving chiropractic care compared to the control group.
▪ Though more research is needed on this topic, the improvements in sensorimotor function associated with fall risk explains why patients undergoing chiropractic treatment experience greater balance, coordination, and stability with activities of daily living.
The purpose of chiropractic care is not to alleviate conditions or simply help someone walk better, these are side effects of a healthier and more efficiently functioning nervous system. Every person deserves to be capable of living an active lifestyle as they age. Chiropractic is one of the most important health strategies which can help many accomplish such goals. Increased sensorimotor integration and joint position sense plays a significant role in balance, coordination, and lowering the risk of slips and falls. And a lowered risk of falls, slips, and traumas will not only prevent injuries but also improve the physical, mental, and social health of an aging population.