Chiropractic Care for Older Adults

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Management of Chiropractic Care for Older Aldults

The effectiveness of Chiropractic care has been a widely researched subject in the past decade, but management plans, especially for the elderly have not be studied until recent. The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics published an article entitled Best Practice Recommendations for Chiropractic Care for Older Adults: Results of a Consensus Process. The article discusses the importance of establishing an agreed upon protocol for treating the elderly population. In the study, 28 qualified practitioners were polled and asked to rate 50 statements that expressed different levels of care in relation to the treatment of older adults. The study found that a high percentage (80%) of panelists agreed on similar protocols for Chiropractic evaluation, management and manual treatment. This is an important concept because it shows that there is a standard out there that a majority of Chiropractors follow when it comes to the treatment of older adults.

Some of the treatments used when treating the elderly patient at include activator technique, drop table technique, massage, active stretching and exercising, and cold-laser therapy. These combined with a full evaluation and properly designed treatment plan can be put in place to help decrease pain, increase range of motion and activity, and help the patient getting back to functioning normally in their daily lives.

Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics

Volume 33, Issue 6 , Pages 464-473, July 2013

Best Practices Recommendations for Chiropractic Care for Older Adults: Results of a Consensus Process

Cheryl Hawk, DC, PhD,


At this time, the scientific evidence base supporting the effectiveness of chiropractic care for musculoskeletal conditions has not yet definitively addressed its appropriateness for older adults. Expert consensus, as a form of evidence, must be considered when higher levels of evidence are lacking. The purpose of this project was to develop a document with evidence-based recommendations on the best practices for chiropractic care of older adults.


A set of 50 seed statements was developed, based on the clinical experience of the multidisciplinary steering committee and the results of an extensive literature review. A formal Delphi process was conducted, following the rigorous RAND-UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) methodology. The statements were circulated electronically to the Delphi panel until consensus was reached. Consensus was defined as agreement by at least 80% of the panelists. There were 28 panelists from 17 US states and Canada, including 24 doctors of chiropractic, 1 physical therapist, 1 nurse, 1 psychologist, and 1 acupuncturist.


The Delphi process was conducted in January-February 2010; all 28 panelists completed the process. Consensus was reached on all statements in 2 rounds. The resulting best practice document defined the parameters of an appropriate approach to chiropractic care for older adults, and is presented in this article.


A multidisciplinary panel of experienced chiropractors was able to reach a high level (80%) of consensus on evidence-informed best practices for the chiropractic approach to evaluation, management, and manual treatment for older adult patients.

Alpha Chiropractic & Physical Therapy believes in combing the specialties and experiences of a medical physician, chiropractor, physical therapist, and massage therapists for treating injuries. This comprehensive treatment approach often produces better results in less time by addressing the muscle and joint aspect to every injury. Our clinic is conveniently located to serve the Ahwatukee, Chandler, Tempe, and Gilbert communities. To learn more about our treatments please visit the Resource Pages or Home Page.