Osteopathy for Older Adults
As we get older, our posture often changes, and many people become less active. This can cause muscle and joint pain, and restrict mobility. Osteopaths are trained to detect and ease areas of strain or imbalance in the body, and this can help improve posture and mobility.
Common problems for older people
Muscle Tension & Pain
The body needs regular servicing and maintenance as it gets older. Any area of tension or strain forces the whole body to compensate, so more energy is used in simple everyday tasks. This can make people feel unduly tired, and suffer from aches and pains.
One of the main reasons muscles become tense and painful is from working hard to protect or support an area of the body that is injured, stiff, or inflamed, or joints which are arthritic. Muscles can also be injured by over exertion, or by suddenly increasing exercise levels. Osteopathic treatment aims to identify and treat the underlying cause of the muscle tension and pain, and to help reduce the likelihood of it recurring.
It is common for the shoulders and spine to become more rounded and stooped, as we get older. This can make it harder to breathe deeply, as movement of the ribs and rib cage becomes more restricted. When we are worried or under stress, chest muscles tighten, and this can cause breathlessness.
Many people become less active as they get older, or are unable to exercise because of pain. This leads to a loss of muscle tone, so the posture becomes less well supported, and makes the back more vulnerable to injury and strain.
Gentle osteopathic treatment to the spine can release tension in the muscles, and help encourage better posture and normal breathing.
Injury to a joint increases the likelihood of arthritis developing. And most people will have suffered from trauma, such as falls, sporting injuries, or car accidents, at some stage of their lives. An arthritic joint tends to be swollen, painful and stiff. The most commonly affected joints are back, hips, and knees, and these can be the most debilitating. Other parts of the body then carry an extra load, as they try to compensate for the arthritic joint.
Osteopathic treatment can gently help improve local circulation around an arthritic joint, and release muscle tension. This can improve the range of motion of the joint, and help reduce the strain on other parts of the body.
If replacement surgery on an arthritic joint is needed, osteopathic treatment can help the body to be in better health, which can aid recovery. Treatment after surgery can also help the body cope with the demands of rehabilitation of the affected joint.
A thinning of the bones tends to occur with age, known as osteoporosis. This leaves the bones weakened and more vulnerable to fracture. Although osteopaths cannot help osteoporosis directly, they can help with the effects of it on related structures of the body.
How Osteopathic treatment can help older people
As well as helping to reduce pain and improve mobility, gentle osteopathic treatment can help older people feel better and less tired. Osteopaths may also give advice on exercises, and changes to diet and lifestyle.