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Research Commentary

Chiropractic for Balance

A review of

Kelly R. Holt, Heidi Haavik, Arier Chi Lun Lee, Bernadette Murphy, C. Raina Elley,

Effectiveness of Chiropractic Care to Improve Sensorimotor Function Associated With Falls Risk in Older People: A Randomized Controlled Trial, Journal of Manipulative and PhysiologicalTherapeutics, Volume 39, Issue 4, 2016, Pages 267-278,ISSN 0161-4754

Reviewed by Dr. Justin Thompson

Chiropractic for Balance

A Summarized Review of the Conclusion

Sensorimotor function and multisensory integration associated with fall risk and the physical component of quality of life improved in older adults receiving chiropractic care compared with control. This displays that chiropractic care is effective in regards to improving balance, and thus overall quality of life especially in the elderly populations. The key findings in this study were that improvements were observed in the chiropractic group in joint position sense error, sound-induced flash illusion, and CSRT compared with the control group. Between-group differences were also observed in the physical component of health-related quality of life, with the chiropractic group improving compared with the control group between the 4- and 12-week assessments.

Quotes from the Article

“Falls account for more than 80% of injury-related hospital admissions in people older than 65 years, and they are the leading cause of injury-related death in older adults”

“There is however a growing body of basic science evidence that suggests that chiropractic care may influence sensory and motor systems that potentially have an impact on some of the neuromuscular risk factors associated with falling”

“Firstly, chiropractic care may influence neuroplastic processes within the central nervous system through altered afferent input due to improved/altered spinal function. Secondly, chiropractic care may have an influence on pain that, in turn, affects cognition, particularly with respect to attentional focus, and physical function. Thirdly, chiropractic care may have resulted in changes in muscle strength or muscle activation patterns.”

“The present study is one of the few randomized controlled trials to report the effect of chiropractic care on health-related quality of life in an older adult population.”

Introduction to the Research

Approximately 30%-40% of community-dwelling older adults suffer from at least 1 fall per year. This statistic shows that as individuals age, their balance and proprioception skills decrease. This can be mitigated by eating, moving and thinking in the right ways. If we take care of our bodies and get adjusted, we can improve quality of life over time. To date, few controlled trials have investigated how chiropractors and other manual therapists may influence falls risk.This study aimed to investigate this potential relationship by assessing whether usual chiropractic care had an impact on measures of sensorimotor function associated with falls risk in older adults over a 12-week period.

Research Methodology

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), multisensory integration (sound-induced flash illusion), and health-related quality of life (SF-36).

Research Findings

Over 12 weeks, the chiropractic group improved compared with the control group in choice stepping reaction time (119 milliseconds; 95% confidence interval [CI], 26-212 milliseconds; P = .01) and sound-induced flash illusion (13.5%; 95% CI, 2.9%-24.0%; P = .01). Ankle joint position sense improved across the 4- and 12-week assessments (0.20°; 95% CI, 0.01°-0.39°; P = .049). Improvements were also seen between weeks 4 and 12 in the SF-36 physical component of quality of life (2.4; 95% CI, 0.04-4.8; P = .04) compared with control.

Research References

As always with these reviews, these are my takeaways from the article and I encourage you to read the article in its entirety.  The references used in this article by the authors of this article are listed here.

Our Message

When you are looking for a Chiropractor near you that you can trust, choose one who will not only get rid of your back pain, neck pain, or headaches but who will also guide you to living a healthier lifestyle to keep you out of pain. Our East Dallas Doctors, located in Lakewood at the corner of Mockingbird Ln. and Abrams Rd., are here to teach you that taking care of your mental health and getting the proper nutrients are just as important as the chiropractic adjustment to improve balance, stay healthy, lower inflammation and limit pain.