Pain Meds Increase Risk of Falls & Fracture
Arthritis pain is common as we age. The years of abuse take a toll on our aging bodies. By the time we are on Medicare, we have joint pain and balance issues. Seniors who use certain common pain medications are at a 7-fold greater risk for falling, and twice as likely to fracture a hip. That’s according to researchers who presented a study at the American Public Health Association (APHA) 138th Annual Meeting. The drugs impair the body’s ability to coordinate balance and posture and that leads to increased falls. The medications that are most risky are based on hydrocodone.
No one needs to tell a senior that the greatest threat to their independence is loss of balance leading to a fall and fracture. But by the time a person reaches 65-75 years of age, there are going to be some achy joints. One quick patch-job is pain medications (like Lortab). I see patients from a nearby senior living center. Many of them are taking Lortab or other forms of hydrocodone. I work closely with the administration and staff to provide the seniors with the best chiropractic care with the primary goal of reducing their use of these risky drugs. One thing my senior patients have reported to me is that they are able to decrease their pain medications, often by half. That provides the following benefits:
- Decreased Falls
- Improved Balance
- Improved Physical Activity.
- Cost Savings.
It is exciting to see my senior patients being more active. Many are taking up dance, and yoga now. The patients are buying less medication. If you have priced out Lortab recently, then you can imagine how much those savings can add up.
These major benefits have a dramatic impact on the life of each senior. They are able to recapture much of their lost activity all because they incorporated safe and effective chiropractic care into their routine.
I am not advocating that seniors stop taking these expensive, risky medications. I am recommending that seniors consult with a chiropractic physician to see how improved joint health might benefit the senior. If a senior can reduce their medications by half just by seeing a chiropractor regularly, then that avenue ought to be explored.
If your medical doctor is telling you not to see a chiropractor, then you owe it to yourself to ask him this very important question and force a real answer out of him.
- What exactly is the contraindication to chiropractic care being added to my healthy life-style plan?
If he gives you a lame answer about arthritis in the joints or some vague answer like “its too risky.” Then just read the list of side effects for the medication he is prescribing for you. Chiropractors are doctors too, and we are trained to handle the elderly as well as the young. Chiropractic care, when rendered appropriately, is far, far safer than prescription pain killers.
I have a very positive relationship with many of the pain specialist medical doctors in town. We commonly refer patients to each other in order to capitalize on our strengths. The benefit is for the patient. If you are a senior and need a referral for a medical doctor who is open to chiropractic care, call our office and we can pass a name to you.
Featured image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Serge Bertasius