Ageing Baby Boomers: The Chiropractic Opportunity

Ageing Baby Boomers: The Chiropractic Opportunity

Anti aging is a big button in 21st century America, one which is going to get much bigger over the next few decades. Every 8 seconds a baby boomer turns 50, and many boomers don’t want to stop “doing” as they age. An increasingly popular view is that growing older isn’t necessarily feeling old. Many Boomers want to do whatever they can to stay active and young, a desire fueling the growing demand for anything that promises anti-aging. Over the next 20 years, I expect this trend to only increase.

The chiropractic profession has not yet seized this opportunity. A simple and understandable truth is that chiropractic adjustments help keep people active(1) and maintain full range joint motion(2). The public perceives the value of chiropractic largely as pain relief for low back and neck pain. One of the ironies of chiropractic is that half the profession does not effectively communicate the benefits of adjustments past the point of pain relief, and the other half confuses patients by burying a simple message of keeping a body moving well as it ages in intellectualizations of wellness philosophies focusing on complexities such as the neuropathology and histopathology of the vertebral subluxation.

According to Farfan, “Aging and degenerative changes are not synonymous…degenerative changes do not appear unless the joint has been damaged by trauma” (3). People comprehend the simple logic of ideas such as “The best way to keep a body working well as you age is to keep your body moving during your life”. The loss of flexibility and the inability to move freely means people become less active as they age. If you can help patients keep moving fully with balanced posture, they will in all likelihood, considering ongoing medical advances, live far longer than their parents.

The first principle of posture and motion is “The body is made to move”(4). Explaining basic concepts of body motion to patients can help them understand the value of chiropractic manipulation (as well as posture exercise, nutrition, and other intelligent LifeHabits) in maintaining an active lifestyle, as they move, feel and age well.

(1) Rupert R, DC. Maintenance care: health promotion services administered to US chiropractic patients aged 65 and older, Part II. JMPT 2000;23(1):10- 19

(2) Whittingham W, Nilsson N. “Active Range of Motion in the Cervical Spine Increases After Spinal Manipulation (Toggle Recoil).” Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. November/December 2001; Vol. 24, No. 9.

(3) HF Farfan, MSc, MD, CM, FRCS; WH Kirkaldy-Willis: “Managing Low Back Pain,” Second Edition, Churchill Livingstone 1988, p 25.)

(4) Weiniger, Steven P, Conscious Posture, Press, 2004 (projected)