Falls are a major health concern for older adults. They are a significant cause of death, injury and loss of quality of life. In people over the age of 65 falls account for over 80% of injury related hospital admissions and they are the leading cause of unintentional injury related death in older adults. Currently falls prevention is receiving considerable attention worldwide. Public health research provides compelling evidence to support investment in programmes aimed at identifying and assessing members of the community at risk of falling and to promote falls prevention programmes. Falls are caused by a number of factors including poor sensorimotor integration. The objectives of this study were:
1. To assess the effect of six months of chiropractic care on objective markers of sensorimotor integration in the elderly. These markers were joint position sense (of elbow, knee and ankle), postural stability (as measured by computerised posturography) and two transcranial magnetic stimulation measures (short interval intracortical inhibition and facilitation).

2. To evaluate the relationship between the overall integrative balance measure (computerised posturography) with the other markers of sensorimotor integration.

3. To assess the effect of six months of chiropractic care on falls incidence, quality of life and other falls related measures in the elderly.  Participants over the age of sixty-five were selected to take part in this study. Participants were randomised into two groups. The experimental group received six months of chiropractic care and the control group received no chiropractic care. The objective neurophysiological markers of sensorimotor integration outlined above, quality of life and other falls related measures were be assessed twice at baseline then at 6 weeks, 12 weeks, 6 months, and follow-up at 9 month. Participants were also monitored on a monthly basis for the occurrence of any falls.

Grant Value: $39,315
Chief Investigator:Dr Kelly Holt – New Zealand College of Chiropractic
Status: Complete



  • Association of Chiropractic Colleges Research Agenda Conference, March 2014. Orlando, Florida, USA.
    Holt, K., Haavik, H., Lee, A.C.L., Murphy, B., & Raina Elley, R. (2014). Effectiveness of Chiropractic Care to Improve Sensorimotor Function Associated with Falls Risk in Older People: A Randomized Controlled Trial.