Chiropractic therapy safe for older adults

Author: Marissa Luck

A new case study confirms the safety of chiropractic adjustments for older adults. Adjusting elderly patients necessitates a more gentle, low-force approach. In the study, researchers sought to understand the types of chiropractic adjustments most beneficial for elderly patients with musculoskeletal pain.

The case report followed an 83-year-old man with a history of leukemia, multiple compression fractures, osteoporosis, and degenerative joint disease. The patient had injured his back while lifting his disabled wife into their truck. Initial examination revealed the patient had leg-length discrepancies, muscle spasms, and compression fractures in the lumbar spine.

A chiropractor cared for the patient using the Activator Methods Protocol which is based on a holistic view of the spine and its coordinated function. An Activator Adjusting instrument was used to mechanically assist high speed, low-amplitude thrusts to the vertebrae.  This technique is also referred to as ASMT or Activator-assisted spinal manipulative therapy.

After only 8 treatments of ASMT, the patient had stabilized with reduced muscle spasms and tenderness. On a scale of 1 to 10, the patient’s reported pain level dropped from a 10 to 4.  With significantly less pain, the man was able to resume normal activities like household chores and caring for his wife. These findings suggest this chiropractic therapy could be an effective treatment for elderly patients with back pain.

Article by China Star and Marissa Luck


Roberts JA and Wolfe TM. Chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for a geriatric

patient with low back pain and comorbidities of cancer, compression fractures, and osteoporosis. J of Chiro Med 2012. 11:16-23.