“Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”

“Help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” Sound familiar? This is the common tagline for the service/product life alert. This is commonly viewed humorously although it is a life saving device for many people. One of the common problems for people at the retirement age is a loss of muscle strength and stability.

A loss of independence is not usually how people imagine the golden years. Being taken care of in a nursing home or depending on a motorized amigo to navigate the grocery store can lead to feeling like a burden to others. One of the reasons for loss of muscle strength and stability is the degeneration of the joints and nerves from the lower back. This process can occur without any pain sensation thus making it difficult to detect.

Gradual decline in leg function often results in a change of a person’s gait or way of walking. This is often seen as shuffling instead of a standard gait where the foot rises and falls. A shuffling gait has a high risk of trips and falls-which can lead to hip fractures. A hip fracture is particularly devastating for the elderly. “Hip fracture is a risk factor associated with mortality among patients over 65 years of age. Females are most prone to sustaining a hip fracture and, therefore, to increased mortality rates.” When a person shuffles to get around any change in surface height can be a potential fall. Common examples include changes in carpet height such as throw rugs, change from tile to carpet, doorway entrances and stairs.

Chiropractic care has shown promising results for patients who have leg strength imbalances. Leg strength imbalances can be a strong predictor of future injury. In addition chiropractic care has also shown to have a 45% increase in the drive from the brain to the muscle. Often muscle strength is diminished due to a weakened nerve signal. Evaluation and correction of these problems can allow a retiree to enjoy the independence that they have been seeking.

Sources:

Changes in H-reflex and V-waves following spinal manipulation.

Experimental Brain Research. Vol 233, 4 , pp 1165-1173

 

The effect of spinal manipulation on imbalances in leg strength

The Journal of Canadian Chiropractic Association

Philip D. Chilibeck, PhD,* Stephen M. Cornish, PhD,† Al Schulte, DC, Nathan Jantz, MSc, Charlene R.A. Magnus, BSc, Shane Schwanbeck, MSc, and Bernhard H.J. Juurlink, PhD§

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