As we honor our Veterans and active military for their service and sacrifices on Monday, those of us in the chiropractic field are actively pursuing ways to try to alleviate the suffering caused by rampant musculoskeletal conditions, traumatic brain injuries, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in our returning troops.
One-in-five, or some 440,000 of the 2.2 million Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans, are still fighting a battle here at home. For combat veterans experiencing the symptoms of PTSD — nightmares, anxiety, depression, flashbacks, hyper-vigilance, and hyper-arousal, and its ripple effects – social isolation, family, job, and economic difficulties, and suicidal thoughts – treatment options may seem out of reach.
Soldiers are also suffering the effects of chronic physical stress. According to a report from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Office of Public health and Occupational Hazards, 42.7 % of veterans who sought VA health care after returning from duty in the Middle East or Southwest Asia were diagnosed with a musculoskeletal condition, making it the most common diagnosis among the subject population.
Factors such as carrying heavy equipment, poor sleeping conditions, extreme temperature changes and the constant threat of attack are primary reasons for musculoskeletal pain and misalignments, and a tax on the nervous system.
Retired Brigadier General Rebecca (Becky) Halstead is an outgoing advocate for military chiropractic care, having benefitted from it herself. She talks about it in this interview.
Chiropractic care can help prepare active duty combat personnel for the extreme physical and mental strain that they endure when deployed, and to help alleviate pain, tension, spinal misalignments and mental and emotional stress upon return, so they can cope more successfully with the challenges of transitioning back to civilian life, and improve their overall quality of life. By reducing pressure on the spine, chiropractic care activates the relaxation response through the parasympathetic nervous system, igniting the body’s own healing mechanisms so the patient may function better on all levels.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) currently provides Chiropractic care at over 40 VA facilities across the US. They do not yet offer the program in Massachusetts. Bills have been introduced in the House and the Senate to require the government to offer chiropractic care at all VA facilities by 2016. For more information on these bills and other information on chiropractic care for military veterans, click here.
Those who are out of reach of a participating VA hospital may join the chiropractic outpatient program, with a referral from their primary care provider and authorization by the department. If you have been denied authorization, click here for more information on how to receive services.
Community Chiropractic is pleased to offer reduced rates for active military and veterans in our Groton, MA office, as part of our commitment to improving the health and quality of life of all members of our community. For more information, please contact our office at 978.448.9355.