Older American Utilization of Chiropractic Care

*Persons 65 Years and Older

A report on the scientific literature 



5,372,280 Americans over 65 years old utilize chiropractic

According to the US Census Bureau (n.d.), the population in 2008 of persons over the age of 65 was 36,800,000. This represents a significant percentage of the total population and with the "baby-boomers" aging, the number is increasing yearly. As we get older, our bodies start to "break down" and experience signs of "wear and tear" along with other problems. The signs of "wear and tear" are called degenerative joint disease, spondylosis or arthritis as they all mean the same thing. In addition, we get accentuated curves in our spines either from side to side or forward and are both a form of scoliosis and are both unsightly and cause many other problems.

Many of these maladies can either be prevented or mitigated with regular exercise and/or chiropractic care throughout our lives to re-align the spine so that it stays straight. However, once we get older, many of these maladies have a side effect of pain and/or loss of function. In response to this, many older Americans seek solutions to improve function and reduce pain.

One solution that many Americans take is chiropractic care because it is a safe and effective means toward accomplishing the goals of getting well. As far back as 1993, according to Mange, Angus, Papadopoulos, and Swan, chiropractic was deemed safe and effective. This continues to 2010 where the safety of chiropractic was questioned regarding risks of stroke have been also been proven statistically rare with chiropractic care; therefore certifying chiropractic safe 

Weigel et al. (2010) reported that from 1993-2007 there were 14.6% Americans using chiropractic based on respondents in the Survey on Assets and Health Dynamics Among the Oldest Old (AHEAD) and their Medicare claims. Based upon the 2008 census report, that would be 5,372, 800 older American using chiropractic. In addition to the Medicare report, there are also countless others under chiropractic care who choose not to go through the Medicare system. The conclusion is a simple metric; older Americans are choosing a drugless solution to their problems and utilizing chiropractic care.



1. U.S. Census Bureau. (n.d). Table 34. Persons 65 years old and over-characteristics by sex: 1990-2008, Current Population Reports, Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2010/tables/10s0034.pdf

2. Mange, P., Angus, D. E., Papadopoulos, C., & Swan, W. R. (1993). A study to examine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of chiropractic  management of low-back pain. The Manga Report, Retrieved from http://www.chiro.org/LINKS/GUIDELINES/Manga_93.shtml

3. Weigel, P., Hockenberry, J. M., Bentler, S. E., Obrizan, M., Kaskie, B., Jones, M. P., Ohsfeldt, R., Rosenthal, G. E.,  Wallace, R. B., & Wolinsky, F. D. (2010). A longitudinal study of chiropractic use among older adults in the United States. Chiropractic & Osteopathy, 18(34) Retrieved from http://www.chiroandosteo.com/content/18/1/34

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Dizziness in Older Adults and Chiropractic Care

A report on the scientific literature 



83% of dizziness sufferers showed improvement or eradication under chiropractic care


According to Maarsingh , Dros, Schellevis, van Weert, Bindels, and van der Horst in BMC Family Practice (2010), dizziness in older patients is a very common occurrence as reported by family medical practitioners. They reported that an 8.3% one-year prevalence of dizziness was reported in patients over the age of 65, with females having a higher incidence. It was also reported that the number could be higher as this is a symptom reported by the patient.

According to Web MD in 2009, "Dizzinessis a word that is often used to describe two different feelings. It is important to know exactly what you mean when you say 'I feel dizzy' because it can help you and your doctor narrow down the list of possible problems.

Lightheadedness is a feeling that you are about to faint or 'pass out.' Although you may feel dizzy, you do not feel as though you or your surroundings are moving. Lightheadedness often goes away or improves when you lie down. If lightheadedness gets worse, it can lead to a feeling of almost fainting or a fainting spell (syncope). You may sometimes feel nauseated or vomit when you are lightheaded.

Vertigo is a feeling that you or your surroundings are moving when there is no actual movement. You may feel as though you are spinning, whirling, falling, or tilting. When you have severe vertigo, you may feel very nauseated or vomit. You may have trouble walking or standing, and you may lose your balance and fall.

Although dizziness can occur in people of any age, it is more common among older adults. A fear of dizziness can cause older adults to limit their physical and social activities. Dizziness can also lead to falls and other injuries" (http://www.webmd.com/brain/tc/dizziness-lightheadedness-and-vertigo-topic-overview).

As reported by Hampton (2005), dizziness has become such a prevalent problem that in spite of rising health care costs, in 2003, Medicare introduced that routine screenings to new beneficiaries for hearing loss, balance disorders and dizziness would be covered. The reason is that the government is looking long-term to save money; something that rarely happens, but in this case is the best solution.

According to Lynn, Schuster, and Kabcenell (2000), Medicare creates "RUG," a classification of patients in nursing facilities grouped by disability and other care needs, for the purpose of determining coverage and rates in the Medicare system. Dizziness is one of the criteria in determining the reimbursement rates for skilled nursing facilities. The costs for a skilled nursing home depending upon the RUG score ranges from $424.97 to $155.66 per day and the variable is the documented impairment of the resident and the amount of care needed to support that population of residents. From a financial perspective, the Federal Governmental and Medicare have a very high stake in ensuring that hearing and dizziness is cared for and corrected at as early an age as possible to save the system significant money.

In 2009, Hawk and Cambron studied the relationship between chiropractic care and dizziness over an 8 week course of manipulative care (chiropractic spinal adjustments). The patients having a "dizziness handicap inventory" baseline score indicating significant dizziness reported an 83% improvement or eradication of the dizziness as a direct result of chiropractic care. Hawk and Cambron reported that this was a pilot study and more research is needed, but their findings could encourage others to find solutions to a growing problem among older adults in American and could positively impact both the lives of Americans and the financial burden of our economy.

These studies along with many others conclude that a drug-free approach of chiropractic care is one of the best solutions for patients with dizziness. To find a qualified doctor of chiropractic near you go to the US Chiropractic Directory at www.USChiroDirectory.com and search your state.



1. Maarsingh, O. R., Dros, J., Schellevis, F. G., van Weert, H. C., Bindels, P. J., & van der Horst, H. E. (2010). Dizziness reported by elderly patients in family practice: Prevalence, incidence, and clinical characteristics. BMC Family Practice, 11(2), Retrieved from http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2296/11/2
2. WebMD (2009). Dizziness: Lightheadedness and vertigo-topic overview. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/brain/tc/dizziness-lightheadedness-and-vertigo-topic-overview

3. Hampton, D. (2005). New medicare benefit includes screening for hearing loss and dizziness. Hearing Review, Retrieved from http://www.hearingreview.com/issues/articles/2005-03_07.asp
4. Lynn, J., Schuster, J. L., & Kabcenell, A. (2000). 9.1.2 Skilled nursing facilities. In Improving care for the end of life: A sourcebook for healthcare managers and clinicians. Retrieved from http://www.mywhatever.com/cifwriter/content/66/4332.html
5.  Hawk, C., & Cambron, J. (2009). Chiropractic care for older adults: Effects on balance, dizziness, and chronic pain. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 32 (6), 431-437.

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