In many of the talks I give on health I almost always ask the audience this question; who would be excited to live to 92? Almost always the majority of the audience isn’t sure they want to live to 92. The reason is obvious, which is what is my quality of life going to look like at that age? How independent am I going to be? Am I going to need to live in a nursing home? Questions about our quality of life in our future are legitimate but what many of us fail to miss is that the choices we make today have a huge impact on the answer. This isn’t going to be a long post but I have found a few studies which will help you, or your loved ones, avoid living in a nursing home. That is if you take action on it today.
I have touched on this subject before but I wanted to re-hash it in combination with some other studies regarding mobility and quality of life. We know that posture impacts both pain and function. There is ample evidence of this in the literature. Having poor posture doesn’t mean you will have pain but it indicates a greater risk for symptoms. Poor posture also will leave you prone to a greater risk for decreased mobility, worsening health, and poorer quality of life. A 2003 study of 60 women aged 70-93 years old found that increased pain in the cervical and lumbar spine was found in women with increased forward head posture. This study also noted that women with increased forward head posture had greater levels of depression, muscle impairment, worse balance, worse gait and worse disability scores. A 2005 study of 1578 men and women living in a senior care community found that as the thoracic kyphosis worsened physical functioning worsened. The thoracic kyphosis is the curve of your thoracic spine, where your rib cage is. A picture of a severe thoracic kyphosis would be the hunchback of Notre-Dame. This study is indicating that as the thoracic kyphosis worsens, expect a decline in physical functioning like bending, walking, climbing stairs, and getting up after sitting. Finally in this 2013 study of 804 men and women aged 65-94 looked at kyphosis as a predictor of an individual needing assistance at home or admission to a nursing home. The authors of this study found a strong connection between people with anterior translation of the torso and a need for assistance either at home or in a nursing home. So basically if you have an anterior translation of your torso relative to your pelvis you are more likely to need assistance in your daily activities when you are older than if your posture is normal. With anterior translation of the torso you typically have anterior pelvic tilt, as this picture shows.
As I said the question of quality of life as we age is a huge one we wonder about ourselves, the problem is the answer is really easy according to the research. If you want to have good mobility late in life, good balance, less pain, and not need any assistance in your daily activities work on your posture. Get your posture to normal today because you can wait too long to make a meaningful change. If you don’t know where to start, or how to correct your posture, get connected with a chiropractor like us who specializes in analyzing and correcting posture. We utilize evidence based methods to evaluate your posture and correct it towards normal. We follow Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) protocols, CBP is an organization with over 220 peer reviewed published studies on their methods. CBP has more evidence to support it’s methods than any other single technique in chiropractic. We know when we follow CBP protocols we will improve your posture which will have an impact on pain but also on your quality of life for today and your future.
According to these studies if you want to avoid living in a nursing home, or require assistance late in your life to live what your posture looks like will have a huge impact. As you look at your parents and grandparents quality of life and tell yourself that isn’t going to be you make sure you actually take some action. Part of your plan should include an objective measure of your posture and forming a plan to improve it, if it is outside of the normal range. If you need help or want an evaluation of your posture give our office a call, this is what we specialize in.