Chiropractic Care for Healthy Aging: A Shelburne, VT Chiropractor’s Perspective
As we age, our bodies undergo a variety of changes, some of which can be seen as a blessing and others as a burden. On the one hand, we may gain wisdom, experience, and a greater perspective on life. On the other hand, we may face health challenges, such as joint stiffness and degeneration, reduced mobility, chronic pain, and cognitive decline. Some of the most common changes as we age include a reduction in bone density, changes in muscle mass, decreased flexibility, and a decrease in the body's ability to heal itself. Factors like poor nutrition, lack of exercise, smoking, and chronic stress can accelerate these changes.
Spinal health is essential for a longer life because the spine is the body's foundation, supporting the weight of the head, torso, and limbs. When the spine is misaligned or damaged, it can cause nerve interference, leading to pain, weakness, and other health problems. Maintaining proper spinal alignment through chiropractic care can help reduce the risk of falls and other injuries, which can be particularly important for older adults. Spinal health also contributes to a healthier life, even in later years, by improving mobility, reducing pain, reducing the risk of falls, promoting better circulation and nerve function, improving immune function, and better sleep. Regular chiropractic adjustments help older adults maintain their flexibility, which makes it easier to perform daily activities and stay active.
Chiropractic care in Shelburne VT is a good healthcare option for older adults because it is non-invasive, drug-free, and tailored to each individual's unique needs. Chiropractors can work with older adults to create a personalized care plan that addresses their specific health concerns, such as back pain, neck pain, or arthritis. This care will help them maintain their independence and quality of life as they age, to be the blessing they were meant to be instead of feeling like a burden to those around them.
How We Care for Seniors at Wellspring Chiropractic Lifestyle Center
Comprehensive Consultation and Exam
We start with a thorough health history because seniors often have complex medical histories. It is important to understand their current health status and any medical conditions they may have. It is just as important to identify potential risk factors resulting from an accumulation of traumas, stresses, bad habits, and poor posture over many years that may be contributing to current health concerns and get in the way of achieving future health goals.
Once we understand the factors that have brought you to where you are now, we will see what your body will tell us. We will conduct a thorough exam, including neurological exams, musculoskeletal exams, balance assessments, and more. Balance assessments can help identify any issues with mobility and stability that may increase the risk of falls. We also may use SPACE-certified non-invasive technology to assess the system that controls all of the organs and muscles and measure how well you are adapting to your current stresses.
After studying these results, we will determine whether or not we can help. If we can, we will design an individualized program of care to address your current health concerns and reduce your risks of problems in the future.
Our care recommendations may include gentle, specific chiropractic adjustments, coaching on key lifestyle issues, exercises to improve strength and balance, and guidance on changes to make the home environment safer.
Specific Chiropractic Care in Shelburne, VT
The nervous system is essential for the proper functioning of the body. It is responsible for transmitting and receiving signals throughout the body, coordinating and regulating various processes, and allowing us to respond to the environment. Without the nervous system, the body would not be able to function properly, and we would be unable to perform even the most basic tasks.
A subluxation is a misalignment of a joint, typically in the spine, that can result in nerve irritation, inflammation, and dysfunction, leading to a variety of symptoms and health problems.
Like a cavity, symptoms of subluxation can vary depending on the location and severity, including no symptoms at all. Over time common symptoms may begin to disrupt function and show up as pain, stiffness, muscle spasms, limited range of motion, and numbness or tingling in the affected area. In some cases, subluxations can also cause headaches, dizziness, and other systemic symptoms.
To find and correct subluxations, chiropractors use various diagnostic techniques, including physical examinations, X-rays and other imaging studies, postural assessment, and computerized scans to detect altered function of the nerves controlling the muscles and organs.
Gentle and specific chiropractic adjustments are used to correct subluxations. At Wellspring Chiropractic, these adjustments involve applying a light touch to the spine, which can help the body realign the joint, reduce inflammation, and relieve pressure on the nerves. We also use brain-based approaches to help the brain create a clearer self-neural image to run the body more precisely, integrate old stresses, release old patterns, and restore ease in the body.
Chiropractic adjustments can make a significant difference in pain relief and improving joint function. However, chiropractic care demonstrates having other benefits beyond pain relief, such as improving overall health and wellness, supporting a healthy immune system, and reducing stress and anxiety.
At Wellspring, we walk alongside you during care. We know that spinal exercises and changing bad lifestyle habits of how you eat, move, and think into healthy ones will allow us to cover more ground faster and even prevent problems in the future.
Custom Therapeutic Exercises
Exercise is vital for people of all ages, including seniors. Regular exercise can help seniors maintain their physical and mental health, as well as improve their quality of life. Exercise can help seniors:
- Improve strength, flexibility, and balance, which can help prevent falls and injuries
- Manage chronic conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease
- Maintain a healthy weight and prevent obesity
- Improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety
- Maintain cognitive function and reduce the risk of dementia
Posture also plays a vital role in our health. Poor posture can strain our muscles and joints, leading to pain, discomfort, injury, and degenerative changes over time. It can also affect our breathing, digestion, and circulation. Good posture, on the other hand, can help us:
- Reduce the risk of back pain and other musculoskeletal problems
- Improve our balance and coordination
- Breathe easier and deeper
- Improve digestion and circulation
- Boost our confidence and self-esteem
Many factors can affect our posture, including:
- Sedentary lifestyle: Sitting for long periods of time can cause us to slouch and develop poor posture habits.
- Weak muscles: Weak core and back muscles can make it difficult to maintain good posture.
- Imbalanced muscles: Tight muscles in one area of the body and weak muscles in another can cause us to adopt compensatory postures.
- Injuries or medical conditions: Injuries or conditions that affect the spine or muscles can also affect our posture.
To improve our posture, we can:
- Practice good posture habits: This includes standing up straight, keeping our shoulders back and down, and aligning our ears, shoulders, hips, and ankles.
- Strengthen our core and back muscles: Exercises such as planks, bridges, and rows can help improve our posture by strengthening these muscles.
- Stretch tight muscles: Stretching the chest, hips, and hamstrings can help alleviate tightness contributing to poor posture.
- Seeking care from a chiropractor for injuries or conditions affecting posture means finding and addressing the root cause of the problem.
We will assess your current level of fitness and any medical conditions or injuries that may affect your ability to exercise and recommend safe and appropriate exercises for your needs and goals.
If we stop moving, our bodies will lose muscle mass and strength, our cardiovascular health will decline, and our bones may weaken. We may also experience weight gain, decreased flexibility and mobility, and a decline in our cognitive function. In addition, a sedentary lifestyle has been linked to an increased risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Staying physically active throughout our lives is crucial to maintain our health and well-being.
The Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Healthy Aging in Shelburne, VT
Three Best Indicators for Healthy Longevity:
While many factors can contribute to healthy longevity, three valuable indicators can provide some insights into a person's overall physical health and fitness level.
Grip strength measures the strength of the muscles in your hands and forearms. It is a predictor of overall health and longevity, associated with muscle mass, bone density, and functional ability. A strong grip is also linked to a lower risk of heart disease and stroke. Grip strength is controlled by the nerves that come from the neck, the same area where the brain stem is located. These nerves also control many organ functions. If there is interference in the nerves controlling the strength of the grip, there may also be interference in the nerves controlling the organs, causing a deterioration in organ function.
The plank is a popular exercise that can help strengthen your core muscles, including your abdominals, back, and hips. Holding a plank for 2 minutes is a good indicator of your overall core strength and stability, which is important for maintaining good posture, preventing back pain, and improving athletic performance.
Getting Up From The Floor Without Using Hands Or Knees:
This test measures your ability to get up from the floor without using your hands or knees, which requires strength, balance, and flexibility. It is a good indicator of your overall physical function and mobility, which is necessary for maintaining independence as you age. Studies have shown that poor performance on this test is associated with a higher risk of disability and mortality.
While these indicators can provide some insights into your overall health and fitness level, other important factors include a healthy spine, a healthy diet, regular exercise, stress management, and social connections.
Surgery can be risky for seniors due to a variety of factors, including their age, overall health status, and the potential for complications during or after the procedure. Older adults may be more vulnerable to complications such as infections, blood clots, or adverse reactions to anesthesia. Additionally, seniors may have underlying health conditions that could increase their risk for surgical complications.
Chiropractic care helps with injury recovery by promoting natural healing processes in the body. At Wellspring Chiropractic, we use a variety of techniques, exercises, and lifestyle guidance to help patients regain strength and mobility after an injury while reducing pain and inflammation associated with injuries.
Chiropractors use non-invasive techniques, such as spinal manipulation, to help prevent injuries by promoting proper alignment and movement of the spine and other joints. This care can help reduce the risk of falls and other accidents that could lead to injury.
In some cases, chiropractic care may be a preferred alternative to surgery, particularly for musculoskeletal issues such as back pain or joint problems.
Seniors are at an increased risk for depression and anxiety due to changes in physical health, social isolation, and the loss of loved ones. It's important for seniors to maintain their mental health through regular check-ins with healthcare providers, staying socially engaged, and engaging in activities that bring them joy.
An elevated mood can keep you healthy in several ways. When you are in a good mood, you are more likely to engage in healthy behaviors, such as exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and avoiding harmful substances like alcohol and drugs. Additionally, positive emotions can boost your immune system, reduce inflammation, and lower your risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Chiropractic care can boost your mood and reduce stress and anxiety in several ways. Chiropractic adjustments can help improve the functioning of the nervous system, which can help regulate mood and reduce stress levels. Additionally, chiropractic care can help reduce muscle and joint tension, which can help relieve physical symptoms of stress and anxiety. At Wellspring Chiropractic, our care includes lifestyle guidance on exercise, nutrition, and stress reduction recommendations, which can help improve overall well-being and reduce stress levels.
Sleep is critical at any stage of life because it is essential for maintaining physical health, cognitive function, emotional well-being, and overall quality of life. Sleep is especially important for seniors as they tend to have more difficulty sleeping and are at increased risk for sleep-related problems.
The benefits of getting good sleep include:
- Improved physical health: Sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system, regulating hormones, and reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. It also decreases the risk of falls, especially in seniors with balance problems.
- Improved cognitive function: Good sleep is critical for optimal brain function, including memory consolidation, learning, and problem-solving, slowing cognitive decline and decreasing the risk of dementia.
- Improved emotional well-being: Sleep is essential for regulating mood, reducing stress, and promoting emotional resilience.
- Improved overall quality of life: Good sleep is critical for maintaining energy, productivity, and overall well-being.
Chiropractic care can improve the quality and quantity of sleep by addressing underlying musculoskeletal problems contributing to sleep problems.
Seniors are more at risk for falls due to a variety of factors, including:
- Reduced muscle strength and flexibility
- Decreased balance and coordination
- Visual and sensory impairments
- Medications that can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, or confusion
- Chronic health conditions such as arthritis or Parkinson's disease
- Environmental hazards such as slippery floors, poor lighting, or uneven surfaces
Falls can have serious consequences for seniors, including:
- Fractures, particularly hip fractures, which can lead to reduced mobility and independence
- Head injuries, which can be especially dangerous for older adults
- Fear of falling, which can lead to social isolation and reduced physical activity
- Reduced quality of life and increased healthcare costs
Chiropractic care can help improve balance and coordination by addressing neuromusculoskeletal imbalances and promoting overall health and wellness. Chiropractors can use various techniques, such as spinal adjustments, soft tissue therapy, and exercise prescription, to improve joint mobility, reduce pain and inflammation, and enhance nervous system function. By restoring proper alignment and movement in the body, chiropractic care can help seniors move more freely and confidently, reducing their risk of falls.
At Wellspring Chiropractic, we use a variety of techniques to improve balance and prevent falls in senior patients. These may include:
- Gentle, specific spinal adjustments to increase proprioception, which is your sense of where your body is in space, as well as improve joint mobility and reduce pain
- Brain-based approaches addressing cortical and cerebellar imbalances
- Extremity work to address problems in feet, knees, and hips
- Soft tissue supportive procedures to release tension and improve circulation, working with muscles and posture
- Exercise prescription for improving strength, flexibility, and coordination
- Nutritional counseling to support overall health and wellness
- Environmental modification to reduce hazards in the home or workplace
Natural Pain Relief
Like the rest of our body, our joints were designed to last us our whole life without deterioration. So why do joints start to hurt for many people as they age? Is it simply wear and tear, and is it inevitable? Achy joints have everything to do with inflammatory lifestyles, traumas that never healed properly, and bad habits, like poor posture and sedentary lifestyles. It is commonly thought that arthritis leads to achy joints, but arthritis doesn’t happen randomly or simply from the passage of time. It isn’t aging itself but the decades of stress and inflammatory lifestyle behaviors accumulated over time. This then leads to arthritis. Even those with arthritis commonly say they have good days and bad days. What can be done to reconcile the accumulated stresses and bad habits so that there are more good days and fewer bad days?
Several things can help keep joints healthy, including regular exercise, a healthy anti-inflammatory diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding injury. Exercise can help strengthen the muscles around the joints, improve flexibility, and reduce inflammation. A diet rich in nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants can also help reduce inflammation and promote joint health. Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the strain on the joints, particularly in weight-bearing joints like the hips and knees. Avoiding injury using proper techniques during physical activity and protecting the joints during repetitive tasks can also help keep joints healthy. Chiropractic care is better than taking pain medication for joint pain, although both approaches can be effective for managing pain depending on the cause and severity of the pain, chiropractic care improves alignment, reduces inflammation, and alleviate pain by addressing the underlying cause of the pain, without dangerous side effects and addictions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Chiropractic care is a healthcare practice that focuses on locating, analyzing, and correcting vertebral subluxations to remove nerve interference in the spine. As we age, our bodies undergo various changes, including changes in posture, flexibility, and mobility. Chiropractic care can help with healthy aging by improving joint mobility, reducing pain, and restoring balance to the body without the use of drugs or surgery.
Chiropractors can address a variety of conditions in older adults, including back pain, neck pain, joint pain, arthritis, osteoporosis, sciatica, and headaches. Chiropractic care can also help with balance and mobility issues that may arise as we age.
Chiropractic care is abundantly safe for older adults because chiropractors are trained to evaluate the safety of each technique and adjust their approach accordingly for the individual regardless of their age, especially when compared to the dangerous side effects of drugs and surgery.
The frequency of chiropractic visits will depend on your individual needs and goals. Your chiropractor will create a care plan based on your specific condition and may recommend regular visits to help maintain optimal health and prevent future problems. However, the frequency of visits will vary from person to person.
You can make several lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, practicing good posture, getting enough sleep, reducing stress, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. Your chiropractor can guide you in incorporating these changes into your daily routine to support your overall health and well-being.
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