In general I would say that acupuncture used by a qualified practitioner in the context of Traditional Chinese Medicine, is one the safest modalities to treat pain and structural conditions in the aging population. Older adults might have more fragile bones ( so natural medicines such as chiropractic care or massage therapy must be modified to treat this age group.)
The acupuncture I practice is very gentle and mostly distal, which mean the needles are not inserted where the pain or the issue is, the needles are used in a locations on the body that stimulates the nervous system to help your body heal the symptom area.
For example: An older client has a lower back pain, acupuncture points will be inserted on the lower part of the leg, the arm or the scalp to help their nervous system regulate the back muscles / Sacro-Illiac joint / Intestines / Spine and different internal organs (such as Colon and Kidney ) that might be affecting the lower back to create a more lasting alleviation of symptoms and in the same time treat the whole body so it is able to support the structure.
The older we are the more life is ‘registered’ in our bodies, there are more ‘holding patterns’ in our bodies and more of the conditions that we suffer from will have a brain and nervous system aspects that will need to be addressed in the treatment.
To my understanding, Acupuncture that is practiced by an acupuncturist is a neurological medicine, it affects different spinal segments that are innervating the tissue and viscera (Internal – Organs ) we can treat these ‘malfunctioning’ spinal segment with Acupuncture so they can self regulate better (which means muscles will be more relaxed, glands will secrete more optimally and internal organs will have better blood flow.