Monday, January 31, 2022

Back Injury in the Nursing Home

When you consider back injury, the first thought that comes to mind is heavy lifting. While heavy or improper lifting is responsible for many back injuries, it may not apply in all cases. 

If your loved one is in a nursing home and has suffered a back injury, it is very unlikely that he or she was lifting something heavy – after all, patients are supposed to be monitored to prevent them from doing things that might injure them.

Causes of back injury

As we age, back pain and injury become more frequent. In elderly patients, arthritis, degenerative disc disease, herniated discs and spinal stenosis are all relatively common causes of back pain. 

If your loved one is suffering from back pain in a nursing home, the first step should be to determine if any of these issues could be causing the pain. If so, the senior will be able to receive the treatment needed to help alleviate the pain.

Slips and falls are also major contributors to back injuries and pain in nursing home patients. Twisting, landing on the back, or hitting something during the fall can all cause injury – especially in those suffering from osteoporosis or other diseases that make the bones brittle and weak. 

These causes may be more common in the elderly, however if you have ruled out other potential causes of your loved one's back injury, you may need to take a closer look at the care he or she is receiving.

Images taken before treatment             

Care of the injured elderly patient 

Sadly, as the patient ages within a nursing home setting, he or she becomes more sedentary and this increases the risk of back injury.

As a Carer, what can you do to reduce the risk of injury to your loved one?

Have you considered Geriatric Chiropractic treatment? Back pain and reduced or limited mobility have a negative impact on daily life. Simply getting through the day can be challenging, with every day tasks including self care and errands, much more difficult to accomplish.

If your loved one is 65 years or older and dealing with back pain, a Chiropractor can help. Chiropractic treatment can reduce their pain and help improve your mobility so they can have a better quality of life.

Improving Spinal Mobility

By gentle manual movement of the spinal vertebrae through various techniques, normal range of movement can be restored, relieving pain and nerve compression, and helping return the patient to a normal state of function. 

Spinal Manual Techniques for the Geriatric patient include:-

  • Instrument assisted manipulation (Activator, Arthro-Stim)
  • Specialised tables (Drop Table, Flexion-Distraction)
  • Soft Tissue Mobilisation 
  • Myofascial Release

                                       Image of Flexion-Distraction Treatment

Spinal Manipulation is a non-drug treatment and therefore it's role in the care of the Senior patient is especially important. 

Pain medications and Opioids affect Seniors differently than younger people. For example, Opiods can increase the risk of falls in the Senior patient. 

Images taken after treatment 

Fall Prevention

Approximately one third of Seniors over 65 fall each year. Falls are the leading cause of injury and death for this at risk group. Seniors who have been hospitalised after a fall, have increased chance of losing their independence. In fact, 40-50% of Seniors hospitalised after a fall, will enter a nursing home. 

Aside from annual eye checks and removing or avoiding environmental hazards, it is important to address balance problems, weak muscles, pain in the back, legs and other parts of the body and difficulty walking. 

Chronic conditions such as arthritis can cause pain for Senior patients and will also affect their walking and balance. It is therefore important to seek treatment that relieves stiffness, joint pain and improves mobility. 

Physical Activity and Exercise Therapy

Physical activity is crucial to keep the body healthy, however due to pain, muscle loss and stiffness, physical activity for the Senior is extremely difficult. Receiving Geriatric Chiropractic care in combination with Exercise Therapy, such as Neurac™ can help alleviate these problems and keep the Senior more active in their daily life. By improving balance, muscle tone and increasing strength, This reduces the risk of further pain and injury and is crucial to preventing falls. 


                                      Image of Neurac

Unsure of which treatment, physical activities and exercises are best for your loved one? 

One of our expert team can recommend a treatment, exercise or physical therapy regimen that works best for you. 

Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.


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