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Spinal Manipulation in Elderly Improves Breathing

Written by Steven Weiniger Written by Dr. Steven Weiniger on Monday, 12 March 2012. Posted in Clinical

Chiropractic spinal manipulation has the potential to improve lung function in elderly patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a new study from Dr. Paul Dougherty, of New York Chiropractic College and the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

The 65+ patents (average age of 79.1 years) had their lung function measured by respiratory therapists before and after they received 12 adjustments over a four week period. According to Dr. Dougherty:

“Thoracic SMT increases the functional mobility of the chest wall by increasing the mobility of the thoracic spinal joints and their associated rib articulations. Because improving the functional mobility of the chest wall has been shown to benefit lung function in the elderly, applying the intervention to elderly patients with COPD carries with it at least the potential to improve lung function.”

DATAPOINT: Improved functional repiration is the common link in the correlations between longevity/mortality, strengthening posture and chiropractic.

WEINIGER’s CONJECTURE:  If passively improving costo-vertebral motion clinically improves breathing, adding active focused motion exercises (eg StrongPosture™ protocols) will significantly increase that effect.

(Dougherty PE, Engel RM et al. (2011) Spinal Manipulative Therapy for Elderly Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseas: A Case Series. (J Manipulative Physiol Ther 34; 413-417)


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