Recently, I was invited by Best Practice & Research Clinical Rheumatology (IF: 2.6) to author an article titled “Spinal pain and its impact on older people”,1 for a special issue on Ageing and Musculoskeletal Health. The content of my presentation will complement the underlying themes of the paper; it will clearly outline the epidemiology, diagnosis and management of spinal pain in the elderly.
In Australia it is estimated that by 2042, 25% of the population, or 6.2 million people, will be aged >65 years.2 The prevalence of LBP in those aged >65 years is estimated between 24 - 27%3; therefore nearly 1.5 million older Australians will have LBP by 2042. This presentation will give Australian chiropractors evidence based information on the epidemiology of back pain in the elderly. I will present information on the predictors and trajectories of back pain, implications of falls, dangers of polypharmacy and talk about comorbidities that are associated with ageing. This information is imperative to chiropractors treating older people in clinical practice.
Secondly, this presentation will explain neuro-musculoskeletal changes associated with ageing and describe the mechanical causes of spinal pain in the older adult. I will explain the etiology of conditions such as degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis as well as clinician specific tools for identifying red flags in older patients. The assessment of spinal pain in the elderly will be an important component of this presentation. I will provide key insight into the safety and effectiveness of chiropractic for older patients (from work recently published in JMPT4), and present to the audience modifications to care that are important tools for the safe treatment of the older patient.