Researchers set out to discover the difference in outcome for seniors who engaged solely in medical treatments versus those who received chiropractic care over a year's time. Their participants were 65+ year old Medicare recipients with at least one claim resulting in a diagnosis of a musculoskeletal disease, dislocation, sprain, or strain.
Each participant's functional outcomes were measured according their ability to bathe, sit in or get up from a chair, dress, eat, and walk across a room. They were also asked to assess their level of difficulty with specific activities such as lifting, reaching, stooping, and walking.
Individuals were also assessed regarding their self-reported health status on a scale of one to five, as well as their level of satisfaction with the care that they received (with included happiness with both treatment and cost). Once all of this information was obtained, the study participants were differentiated between those who had used any chiropractic services during the course of the year and those who did not and opted strictly for medical care instead.
What researchers found is that the individuals who engaged in some form of chiropractic care had fewer functional limitations, less difficulty engaging in activities such as lifting and walking, and a lower number of doctor's visits and hospitalizations. They concluded that chiropractic had a sort of "protective effect," safeguarding them against physical deterioration.
Furthermore, patients of chiropractic were also more satisfied with their care during initial treatment as well as follow-up, the cost out-of-pocket, and the information provided to them about their condition. Therefore, this study suggests that engaging in chiropractic offers many benefits toseniors with spinal conditions, allowing them greater function and happiness as a result.
Weigel PAM, Hockenberry JM, Wolinsky FD. Chiropractic use in the Medicare Population: prevalence, patterns, and associations with 1-year changes in health and satisfaction with care. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2014;37:542-551.
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