Chiropractors see influx of aging baby boomer injuries

Some baby boomers don’t know when to slow down or quit

Published: March 30 2014 | 6:00 am - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 10:19 am in

“We do see a fair amount of ‘weekend warriors,'” Nathan Broghammer said. “They come in to get some relief after working too hard on the weekend.

"They have repetitive type of injuries that occur with things like tennis and golf,” said Broghammer, a chiropractor at Chiropractic Clinic of Iowa, 214 Blairs Ferry Road NE, Cedar Rapids.

As the baby boomer population ages, chiropractors are finding themselves prescribing lighter exercise and correct form for many patients who are pushing themselves too far in the gym.

While exercise is encouraged and recommended by both doctors and chiropractors, Broghammer, also an owner of a CrossFit gym, said the specific way one exercises, especially given a certain age, is extremely important as well.

“People let their ego come before their (weightlifting) form, which isn’t the best thing to do. Someone who is 50-plus wants to get into the gym. That’s great, but we have to get them settled down and make sure they get the form down.“

Dr. Ethan Zmoos, an associate at Zmoos Chiropractic Center, 4045 River Ridge Dr. NE, Cedar Rapids, said he has seen both sides of the spectrum — the overactive aging person, and the patient that will feel pain and cease movement altogether. He said the key is trying to find a balance that involves exercising without overextending.

“Some people will feel the arthritis in their body, so they stop moving, even if I tell them to try and push past it,” Zmoos said. “Then you have the other people who haven’t realized they’re not 20 years old anymore, and will go on a five-mile run, then do a paint job at their house, and wonder why their knees hurt.”

The injuries that come from being a weekend warriors usually occur in the neck, back and knees. Chiropractors use different techniques for these injuries that vary from traditional adjustments to using a laser

The underlying factor in these treatments, though, is lighter use of force on older patients.

In addition to bones feeling pain or being out of place due to over-exercising, muscles and their treatment also plays a large role in becoming pain-free and helping a patients’ overall health.

“The spine is housing the nervous system, and if that’s not aligned, it puts pressure on the nerves which does things like decrease immunity,” said Dr. David Strickler, owner of Associated Chiropractic and Wellness Center, 3255 Williams Blvd. SW, Cedar Rapids. “If soft tissue is not functioning, neither is the whole structure. The soft tissue can’t function the way it’s supposed to," which can causes pain.

Going beyond pain medication and other medicinal methods, Strickler said doctors are including chiropractors in their recommendation for help with pain.

People have taken a number of  approaches to spinal issues, he said, "and now they want to find something that works and stick with it. We get a ton of references from (doctors) — they have a lot of people see this as a last option.”

The chiropractors have noticed an increase in baby boomers over the last five years, but Zmoos said this does not necessarily mean it is easy for the patient to come in to the office, and he has to accommodate that.

“A lot of the health care changes affected" patients coming into the office frequently, he said. “The deductible increased. It definitely cost more 10 years ago to come in, so we are becoming more efficient in reducing pain.”

“I definitely think we’ve become a more integrated world than it was 10 years ago,” Zmoos said. “Patients are seeing more research on ever that what we do is effective, and the demand will only increase as the population increases.”

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