May 6, 2010 — A new study being conducted at the Wolfe-Harris Center for Clinical Studies at Northwestern Health Sciences University is examining how exercise and chiropractic care can impact the overall health and spinal function of seniors.
Limited physical activity is one of the main health concerns for the elderly. The National Institutes of Health report that moderate exercise and physical activity can improve the health of seniors who are frail, or who have diseases associated with aging.
However, exercise alone won’t necessarily address the spinal problems which seniors commonly experience. This is a concern as spinal problems can cause pain and subsequent decline in physical function in older adults.
The university received nearly $1.6 million in federal funding from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to conduct the study. The study is a randomized clinical trial which will assess the combination of chiropractic management and exercise therapy.
Participants must be 65 years of age and older with chronic spine problems. The study is unique in that it is one of the first to assess the effects of long-term chiropractic management on disability, pain, functional capacity, and balance in seniors The study will also measure differences between groups in patient-reported general health, improvement, and medication use.
Recruitment for the study began at the beginning of 2010, and will continue for the next three years.
The study will significantly contribute to the evidence base of conservative, nondrug treatments that address disability and pain in seniors with spinal problems.
According to Michele Maiers, DC, associate dean of research and knowledge transfer at Northwestern, “Identifying effective therapies has tremendous potential to substantially improve the function, quality of life and overall health of the aging population.”
The study is aligned with the Healthy People 2010 goals of reducing activity limitation due to chronic back conditions, as well as increasing physical activity and fitness in adults.
Source: Northwestern Health Sciences University, www.nwhealth.edu/nwtoday/index.html