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Falling for Chiropractic

Actually, the correct phrase in this case might be "falling without chiropractic," at least if the results of a recent study by a team of Australian researchers are accurate.

The elderly have a lot to put up with: eyes that may not see as clearly as when they were younger; minds that might not be as lucid as they once were; and bones that are weaker and more prone to breaking.

In fact, falls are the sixth leading cause of death among the elderly population. Does the spine play a role in preventing falls?

Researchers recently examined common causes of falls and possible interventions, including the potential influence of a healthy spine. The most common fall-related injuries are fractures, especially of the femur, neck and soft tissue. Recent studies have yielded links from the degenerative spine to balance disturbances, the neck and verticality; and research is ongoing to determine whether the cervical spine is associated with balance that may be slightly "off" when a fall occurs.

Researchers suggest simple activities may serve as tests of patient functional performance. These include sitting, standing, reaching, leaning over, looking over the shoulder, turning in a complete circle and stepping, and a simple gauge of leaving a chair, walking 3 meters, and returning to the chair.

Aside from the normal challenges facing the elderly, one precaution is in order: Seek a spine specialist in order to maintain your back, posture and equilibrium. And what better spine specialist than a doctor of chiropractic? Your chiropractor can advise you on the best ways to prevent yourself from losing your balance - and possibly more.

To learn more about ways to stay healthy into the golden years, go to


Walsh JM, Polus BI, Webb MN. The role of the cervical spine in balance and risk of falling in the elderly. Chiropractic Journal of Australia March 2004;34(1):19-22.