The longevity revolution epitomised by ageing baby boomers means a broader role for chiropractors in helping people with decreased muscle or bone density and balance issues which add to the risk of falling, a conference of New Zealand, Australian and International chiropractors in Auckland was told this week.
The conference during the weekend (14th-16th September) organised by the New Zealand College of Chiropractic heard that the implications of the baby boomer generation reaching retirement age meant healthcare providers needed a better understanding of the unique role chiropractic can play. Delegates learned about the various chiropractic techniques best suited to the elderly, how to effectively manage any rare associated risks and also a better idea of the expectations that seniors have of their care.
Dr Graham Dobson, chiropractor, Director of the Technique Department at the New Zealand College of Chiropractic told the meeting that chiropractic had: `a vital part to play in reducing pain and the need for pharmaceuticals, increasing joint mobility and improved overall quality of life by helping to maintain function and a positive attitude.’
He noted that chiropractic care has often been associated only with the management of limited musculoskeletal disorders by the application of spinal manipulative therapy but that increasingly chiropractors were using multiple techniques to assist the patient as a whole by addressing the nervous system, not only his or her musculoskeletal symptoms. Research is beginning to point at chiropractic as having a role to play in the multi disciplinary management of people with conditions such as sarcopenia (muscle loss) and osteoporosis.
However, Dr Dobson warned that it is important for chiropractors to evaluate older patients carefully to take account of factors such as osteoporosis, multiple interactions of prescription medications as well as the risk of falls.
Research into how chiropractic care for older people may reduce injuries and even deaths from falls is being conducted by Auckland University and the Centre for Chiropractic Research (CCR) at the New Zealand College of Chiropractic.
According to Chiropractor, PhD candidate and principal investigator of the study Dr Kelly Holt, falls often occur due to a decline in nervous system function with advancing age. This can lead to a loss of balance, or poor control of the limbs, which dramatically increases the risk of falling.
Dr Holt says: `Already it is estimated that in New Zealand slips, trips and falls cost almost $300 million per year in treatment and rehabilitation costs and as the population ages this will likely get worse.’ He says that ‘falls result in approximately 450 deaths per year in New Zealand and for older adults in particular, a fall can lead to a downward spiral that involves a loss of confidence, a cessation of day to day activities and eventually increased frailty and even death.’
For further information on the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association visit www.chiropractic.org.nz.
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By Peter Boyes, Director Boyes PR
I’ve been involved in marketing communications in one way or another for the best part of three decades. When I first moved from full time medical journalism into health care public relations many years ago, my mother, who had been in newspapers all her working life, asked me “So what’s the difference between advertising and public relations?” I’m not sure I can have explained the difference too well since she still refers to something as being good PR when it is actually a paid for advertisement.
There are any number of clients too who will remark on the advert we got them on TVNZ or in the New Zealand Herald, when it is really a news story we placed in the editorial part of the TV show, radio programme, newspaper or magazine.
So, just to make sure that our clients are on the same page as me on this, I thought it would be useful to write a reminder about some of the very basic differences between advertising and PR.
Bought or Earned
Advertising is where an organisation pays for space in which to promote its brand and messages. Like all marketing communications this requires a cumulative approach. I’m of the view that it takes at least ten ‘touch points’ or encounters before a potential customer is prepared to act on a brand offer. One advert won’t do much for your service or product, which is why you usually hear people talk about an advertising campaign, which should run with a reasonable degree of exposure over a period of time. There again, an advert placed in a publication without foundation awareness of the brand is unlikely to be effective. Advertising alone, without other complimentary marketing communications is going to have limited penetration.
PR – Public relations activity is designed to get publicity for an organisation company or service or product through news releases, feature story pitches and developing your spokesperson’s profile as a commentator on issues of interest as well as growing relationships with journalists. At the heart of this activity is the power of third-party endorsement and credibility for your offering. Very often we will position that offering within as a trend or human-interest story, rather than a product promotion. Our stories get published on their merit, which is why we refer to them as “earned” media.
Supping with the Devil
Clearly, if you are signing the cheque for the advert, you have complete control over what appears. But your potential customers know that you have paid for the space and are inclined to be sceptical about what you say because of that. Advertising can work, of course, but people may resist the messages because they assume they are biased.
When the media agrees to take up a story from a public relations pitch there is no control over what they will do with it or what will eventually be published. An experienced PR person will be able to enhance your chances of good coverage by message training, preparing your spokesperson for interviews and identifying the best quotable quotes. Most times this works out well but I’ve said it before and it’s worth repeating, when you sup with the devil you really do need a long handled spoon. And even with that, on occasion, your eyebrows will get singed.
The Internet Never Forgets
It used to be that once an advertising campaign had run that was it. The development of the internet however now means that a campaign can live for much longer through postings on YouTube, Facebook or Pinterest. The more conversations a campaign generates the deeper and more pervasive the internet memory of the campaign will be; the longer it will persist in Google Search Results. Although visual elements alone will not enhance the search results unless they have been properly optimised.
Public relations is even more enduring. Its direct contribution to an evolving conversation through a wide range of web tools means that your messages can live forever. Once our articles are published, no matter if that is via a newspaper, magazine, radio or television station, they usually shows up online and will be indexed by the show search engines. Every single story we have produced for our clients is still available via Google and points back to their websites. In this way the Internet has extended the life of a marketing communications campaign indefinitely. We often get queries from media following up a story months after the initial publication or asking to speak to our spokespeople because we have such a prominence in online news.
Creativity in Marketing Communications
We work with some great advertising copywriters and creatives. Through different media such as TV or radio commercials, print adverts, social media pop ups, microsites or Facebook ads, creatives use interactive elements, gamification (fun games) and other techniques to persuade us. A successful advert attracts through the use of language and a clear call to action. A really effective call to action will motivate customers to buy your service or products. The best copywriters can create slogans that will carry on selling to people for years to come and even get us to incorporate a jingle, phrase or image in our everyday speech. Remember we owe our present day look and feel of Santa Claus to the popularity of an early twentieth century Coca Cola advertising campaign.
The creativity involved in PR is of a somewhat more subtle nature. A good PR practitioner needs to understand what will make news. They will be analysing the news every day, scanning for possible angles and evaluating trends. There is a delicate art to anticipating events and sensing what is going to be of interest to the media and the wider public. Then a creative spark is required to turn that insight into something that will ignite attention. When that happens the resultant publicity far exceeds anything that can be directly purchased.
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Chiropractors part of the solution to growing musculoskeletal-skeletal disability according to Dr Hayden Thomas, chiropractor and spokesman for the New Zealand Association of Chiropractors. He was commenting following the news that one in four people suffer from musculoskeletal disorders, such as arthritis, which cost the country more than $5.5 billion each year, according to a new report.
And the number of people living with at least one type of arthritis is expected to climb, tightening the squeeze on our already strained health and welfare systems.
By 2020, more than 650,000 Kiwis aged over 15 will have arthritis, compared with 530,000 now.
The report, entitled: Fit For Work? Musculoskeletal Disorders and the New Zealand Labour Market, calls for a focus on early detection and intervention to ensure people with these disabling conditions keep working.
GPs should also focus on thinking beyond the physical symptoms.
Employers and employees should look not at incapacity, but at the capacity of what sufferers can do in the workplace, the report says.
Developing a national plan was needed to co-ordinate action from the government, medical professionals and employers to help sufferers get back into work.
Musculoskeletal disorders include the 140 types of arthritis, back, neck and joint pain and work-related conditions such as repetitive strain injury.
They affect sufferers' stamina, ability to concentrate, mood, mobility and agility. Depression or anxiety are also likely.
They are the leading cause of disability in New Zealand and are the second largest category of conditions resulting in sickness and invalid benefit payments, the report says.