Boomers are Hurting in Record Numbers
Dr. Tom Scherer

The common cold holds down the number one spot for office visits, but it might be a surprise that following close behind in the number two spot are sports and exercise related injuries. Sports injuries have long been moving up the list of the most common reasons that Baby Boomers seek medical attention and have now become more common than anything except colds.

On one hand, there is something positive to be seen in this statistic. It means that Baby Boomers are actually exercising with greater frequency. On the down side, encouraged by doctors to follow an exercise program of three to five times per week, the now mainly middle-aged boomers (78 million of them born between 1946 and 1964) are experiencing injuries in record numbers, too.

The types of injuries sustained and the medical treatment prescribed for them is becoming all too common in society today. Boomers are getting knee and hip replacements, surgery for cartilage and ligament damage and treatment for a whole slew of stress fractures, tendonitis, bursitis and arthritis, as well as endless prescriptions for pain killers, anti-inflamitories and muscle relaxants.

In addition to the cost of doctor visits, hospital stays and surgery, lost time in the workplace totaled 488 million days of restricted work among middle-aged Americans as early as 2002 as provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Costs associated with emergency room visits have risen sharply in recent years, too.

Chiropractors have long been strong supporters of exercise as part of a healthy patient lifestyle. A recent national survey of Chiropractors showed that the overwhelming majority of Doctors of Chiropractic support a healthy patient lifestyle: 97.8% recommend exercise, 93.6% recommend maintenance and wellness care, and 93.2% even provide ergonomic (equipment design) recommendations.

Unfortunately for Baby Boomers, enough of them are not heeding the advice of chiropractors or are not seeking out chiropractors as their healthcare provider in adequate numbers. In fact, according to a recent survey of Complementary and Alternative Medicine that included 31,044 Americans, only 7.5% of the general population utilizes Chiropractic services.

Americans would be well advised to increasingly seek out the advice of a Chiropractor to put them on the straight and narrow when exercising. They would receive education in how to reduce the growing prevalence of obesity, heart disease and diabetes that is becoming a plague upon the Boomer generation.

Most professional sports teams today have a chiropractor on staff to handle an assortment of injuries and to help in the planning of a team's total wellness program. Individual Baby Boomers would be wise to add a chiropractor to their medical support team to help them achieve a happier, healthier and more injury-free lifestyle.

Sources: The World Chiropractic Alliance. http://www.worldchiropracticalliance.org/tcj/2006/jun/e.htm