Falls are very prevalent in the elderly and are a significant cause of both fractures and increased death rate, so this urgently needs attention.
As people get older, they may not require the sometimes more vigorous techniques in Osteopathic treatment, but this does not mean it may not be of some use and certainly becomes more useful when combined with Tai Chi and vitamin D supplementation.
A controlled trial found Tai Chi to be superior in the over 70’s, both for aerobic and strength exercises and stretching.
A randomised controlled trial (RCT) found that in the over 70’s therapeutic Tai Chi is superior to both, strength, aerobic exercise and stretching, for the prevention of falls. In this particular study Tai Chi was reported to be over 58% better than exercises such as stretching and 40% better than mild aerobics and strength training.
There is overwhelming evidence to show that lower limb strengthening exercise dramatically reduce fall rate. These should be done at least twice a week preferably three times a week.
Although a recent study has suggested Vitamin D may not help bone health there are other studies showing that high levels of vitamin D leading to a reduction in falls by 37%, in older. However, this study shows that in these cases only high levels of vitamin D supplementation (higher than 800 i.u. / day are helpful in this case).
In conclusion, in addition to Osteopathic treatment to ensure the body works at its maximal efficiency and in a pain free fashion, certainly as we become older and unsteadier, Tai Chi and Vitamin D supplementation may be a way of helping this problem.