Age-Related Postural Changes and Future Disability

I have been “preaching” to my patients for years that maintaining healthy spinal posture and mobility will have a significant long-term impact on their overall health and ability to maintain an independent active lifestyle. Fortunately… or unfortunately for some, the current research is finally catching up to what musculo-skeletal professionals already know about spinal posture and mobility; there is a direct link between the angle of forward inclination of your spine and the increased probability of having a significant future disability.

BOTTOM-LINE: Slumping leads to a progressive loss of independence!!

FACTS: A large study done in Japan and released by the Gerontological Society of America found that adverse changes in spinal posture resulted in up to a 3.47 times more likelihood of becoming dependent upon outside help with activities of daily living. Translation – Forward drawn faulty posture strongly correlates with the need for future help with self care tasks such as getting dressed, bathing, feeding, using the toilet, maintaining continence and transferring out of bed, chair or the car.

The breakdown in posture with aging is also associated with other health consequences including;

  • Restriction in ribcage mobility and respiratory muscle function reduces endurance capacity (i.e. shortness of breath)
  • Decreased hip and trunk mobility/strength reduce upright posture and ability to walk
  • Age-related reduction in muscle mass (Sarcopenia) leads to slower movements, shorter ranges of motion and increased fatigue with activity.

FACTS: A common misconception in our society is that “if there is no pain, there is no problem!” This is a very shortsighted view and makes prevention much more difficult. The key to maintaining spinal health and optimum function is regular monitoring and treatment of joint restriction and muscle imbalances. Regular spinal check-ups allow us to easily assess, treat and prescribe “specific” corrective exercises to avoid unnecessary pain and disability in the present and future!

Our balanced and thorough approach includes functional assessments, low-force manual therapy (chiropractic adjustments & massage), individualized corrective exercises and health education classes that emphasize postural health, joint-muscle mobility and stability exercises.

**Maintaining Function and Mobility must be a goal that we start achieving sooner than later. There is NO better time than NOW to make your health a priority!!

If you have further questions regarding this subject, please contact Dr. Brett by email or feel free to discuss them on your next visit.

Source: Spinal Posture in the Sagital Plane is associated with Future Dependence in activities of Daily Living; A Community-Based Cohort Study of Older Adults in Japan.

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