Common injuries for Older Australians
The 1st of October is ‘International Day of Older Persons and we love to celebrate all our older clients! But, let’s face it, growing old is not always sunshine and rainbows!
Welcome to our October blog, and what a beautiful month we are entering. International Day of Older Persons is a very special day. It serves as an important reminder to educate ourselves on some common ailments that come with age and how to prevent them. After all, a morning regiment of painkillers should not be the norm. And while, medication is sometimes necessary, but we believe the body has the potential to heal itself naturally, so we’ll offer some drug-free alternatives to managing these common ailments.
· Older Australians account for almost 1/6 of the population
· The total number of Australians over 65 is increasing every year, as we are now living longer than ever before!
· The number of Australians over 85 surpasses the population of the whole Australian Capital Territory
· Japan has the highest rate of older people, accounting for ¼ of their population
· 1 in every 5 65-74-year-olds is in the labour force.
As the population of Australia is ageing, we need to be more mindful of how we treat our bodies at every stage of life. Reportedly, we’re living an average of 20 years more than previous life expectancies (according to the Australian Institute of Health and Wellness, 2018). So, what are some common injuries and ailments that occur in older Australians?
Most common injuries
Many injuries will occur due to falls. As we age, our balance and stability can become affected, making falls a dangerous possibility. However, some injuries and ailments occur due to weaknesses as well as wear and tear. Here are the most common:
· Meniscus Tear - This occurs when aged, worn tissue tears. Meniscus tears can happen to athletes on the field, as well as us ‘average joe’s’ later in life - and can be the cause of stubborn knee pain.
· Hip Fracture - Fractured hips are usually the result of a fall, especially when dealing with worn hip bones. Hip fractures can cause a lot of pain and sometimes require surgical intervention.
· Wrist fractures – These injuries are very common and can have a negative impact on independence levels as the wrist heals.
· Pelvic injury – This is common amongst older Australians due to weakened bones or as a result of Osteoporosis.
· Shoulder injury - Shoulder injuries, including soft tissue lesions and rotator cuff injuries, are common injuries we see in our older patients and can greatly restrict range of motion.
How to prevent or manage injuries
Some injuries such as fractures may have to heal on their own, although as chiros, we can help get the affected or surrounding joint/s back to normal movement. Long term, the key to minimising the severity of these issues is to properly address the cause and hopefully prevent them in the future.
Chiropractic can help the body become more aligned and thus more stable; which has a big impact on balance, which can prevent potential falls.
Chiropractic care can also assist the body to heal the common shoulder, pelvis, wrist and hip ailments listed above. Booking regular adjustments can help the severity and duration of common conditions.
Exercise and stretching is a great way to minimise the likelihood of meniscus tears alongside other injuries, as strong muscles will be less likely to tear and therefore cause pain. However, exercise does not have to be strenuous. A 20-minute walk in the park each day can be a great way to stimulate leg muscles. If walking is not suitable, using hand and ankle weights while seated can gently activate the muscles. Water aerobics is also a great, low-impact option to help stimulate weakened muscles. It’s coming into swimming season, so why not give it a try?
So, there you have it! From us to you, a Happy International Day of Older Persons! How will you implement these preventative measures in your daily routine? Be sure to let us know next time you book in an appointment with Dr Claire Until next month, stay healthy!