How old is too old for Chiropractic?

I’m too old to get my back fixed

Something we often hear is “I’m too old for chiropractic, I’m too past it and you can’t help me.” Why do people think this way?

Because a lot of the time, the older population have tried a number of things and suffered with pains for ten or twenty, even thirty plus years. They are sceptical, and they are reluctant to try anything else because all the methods before have failed.

I completely understand; if I had tried painkillers, hot baths and massage with no resolution of my pain and to be told by a medical doctor that this is something that has to be lived with and managed, then I would be reluctant to try something new as well.

I want to tell you a story about a recent client that came to us called James. James was one of the most incredible 86-year olds I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Although I didn’t realise that until he finished his corrective care plan with us.

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Let me explain, James came to us with his daughter, and he was in severe pain. He had sciatica for the last two months and could barely speak.

We couldn’t do an examination because he couldn’t lie down or sit, and we had to take the case history standing up. We just about got some x-rays taken, and it was clear why he was getting sciatica. He had osteoarthritis at the base of his spine which was causing compression of the bottom nerve which runs down the leg, called the sciatic nerve. This was a form of stenosis.

The main thing for James was that he couldn’t care for his wife who was suffering with dementia. This meant that the rest of the family happened to take shifts to look after James but also James’ wife. Remember, back pain doesn’t just affect the individual, it also affects the ones close to them as well.

James is incredibly independent, still doing loads of DIY, gardening, and caring for the both of them. However, since the sciatica started, he was sleeping downstairs in the front room on the floor, as it was the only place that was comfortable, unable to look after his wife.

As someone who takes incredible pride in how he’s presented, he wasn’t even getting dressed to start the day (although I must say, when we first met he was wearing a suit and tie, that’s dedication).

When we went through the results with James and the family, I told him that we can’t correct osteoarthritis, but we can take pressure off the nerve to get rid of the sciatica, but the change in the shape of the bone had been there too long. They were happy about that and let me begin treatment.

It was slow to begin with and James was seeing us twice a week. The reason for twice a week is that we don’t allow the spine to go back to the position it wanted to be in so we can keep building on each adjustment, to change the spine long-term and cause resolution.

It wasn’t until week three, James came in and pretty much skipped onto the bed.

I couldn’t believe it, we thought it would take a lot longer due to his age and the level of damage in the base of his spine. But it goes to show that everyone is different.

It was a complete turn-around for him and the family, and I’m glad to say that he is back home looking after his lovely wife and normality has been restored for James and his family. 

On the opposite end of the scale, we often get clients asking us “What is the youngest patient you have?” We have seen babies as young as 3 days old in the clinic. A lot of people seem confused by this and think Chiropractors can only help people with bad backs. We focus on the nervous system and optimise that to ensure everything is working. 

With new-borns, they have often had a traumatic birth and their start in life can be harder. For example, forceps delivery can put pressure on the cranial bones. This can affect the neck and jaw and can cause problems with sleeping or ability to latch whilst feeding.  It’s so important to give babies the best start in life.

My son, now four years old, had a ventouse delivery, which is a suction cup on his head. He had a cone shaped head for the first twenty-four hours before the swelling settled down.

What this did though is pull the top part of his neck, and he found it difficult to lie on one side and latch when feeding on that side. We started doing some cranial work on him and he settled down once the tension started to reduce. He seemed to become much more comfortable

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If you do know someone who wants more advice, please send them our details. You can send them this assessment as well to diagnose their back pain. It is a great tool to understand where your back pain is coming from, it is free and takes 60 seconds. Click here for assessment

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