Why Do Seniors Seek Chiropractic in North Huntingdon?
A recent study published in BioMed Central Geriatrics on April 23, 2021, looked at how and why older people utilize chiropractic services. In the background of the study the authors state, “…the purpose of this study was to describe the demographic characteristics of older adults seeking chiropractic care, and to report problems diagnosed by chiropractors and the treatment provided to older adults who seek chiropractic care.”
The study begins by pointing out that most older adults seek primary medical care for a variety of musculoskeletal conditions. Older adults are the highest consumers of health care services overall. This study specifically looked at chiropractic care for the older population.
Although there would be some debate defining the profession of chiropractic, the authors of the study describe chiropractic by saying, “Chiropractic is a health profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, and the effects of these disorders on the function of the nervous system and general health.”
The study reported on patient encounters from 94 chiropractors from both Australia and Canada who agreed to participate in the study. The chiropractors were asked to manually record patient encounters on 100 consecutive patient encounters in their facilities. The information was recorded on forms by either fill-in information or check box. Demographic information regarding date, age, sex, height, and weight were recorded, along with up to three reasons the patient came to see the chiropractor on that particular visit.
The chiropractors also provided information as to how the patient was referred for chiropractic, and the patient diagnosis as well as the types of care rendered. The average age of the chiropractor in the study was 43 years, with an average of 16 years in practice. A total of 6781 chiropractic patient encounters were recorded for this study.
The results showed that from all the patient encounters, 16% were patients over the age of 65 years. Of those seniors, 56% went to the chiropractor for back problems, while 10% went for neck problems. It should be noted that the understanding of chiropractic could vary by nation as prior studies in the United States have shown a higher percentage of patients seeking chiropractic care for neck problems than was reported in this study in Canada and Australia.
In the conclusion of the study, the authors gave a summary of the results. “From 6781 chiropractor–adult patient encounters across two countries, one in six chiropractic patients were aged ≥65 years. Among older adult patients, back pain was the most common problem diagnosed by chiropractors (accounting for 82 in every 100 encounters). Neck pain and lower limb problems were the next most common presentation to chiropractors.”