Chiropractic Care for Veterans

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.

View and track the progress of the bills, take action, and share with others:
S.422
H.R. 921
H.R. 741

Are There Drugs in Your Water Supply? Chiropractic is a Drug Free Option for You and the Environment.

Recently, our town and surrounding towns held prescription drug drop-offs for National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. People were able to drop off old prescription drugs at our local Police Department, no questions asked. We applaud the town, and all who participated!

There is ample evidence that pharmaceuticals are present in our water supply, and may cause environmental harm, and harm to humans and wildlife. Just a few weeks ago, a local lake and pond tested positive for pharmaceutical residues including tranquilizers, nicotine, insect repellent, pain relievers and anti-seizure medications. Findings suggested these may have entered the water supply by swimmers, showering, or flushing pills down the toilet. It is also important to consider that any drugs we put into our bodies are later excreted, and may also end up in our ground water and water supply. A story reported on NBC News five years ago highlighted this already widespread problem, and suggested that there may, indeed, be ill effects of waterborne pharmaceutical residues on humans and wildlife. A 2001 study of pharmaceutical levels in water in Lake Mead, Nevada, also revealed that “many of these compounds can bioaccumulate and may adversely affect aquatic organisms by disrupting physiological processes, impairing reproductive functions, increasing cancer rates, contributing to the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, and acting in undesirable ways when mixed with other substances.

We encourage you to consider drug-free options as much as possible. Clearly, pharmaceuticals are necessary and life-saving in some cases, though there are alternatives when it comes to pain and many other conditions. Chiropractic care has been proven to work better on issues like neck pain than medications, as evidenced in a 2012 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, and widely reported in the media. It showed that chiropractic adjustments (or spinal manipulation) and exercise were more effective than medication in the treatment of acute and chronic neck pain. See the ABC News Report below:

Unfortunately your browser does not support IFrames.

We know that it is not always possible to go off of medications, but we do know, from experience, that many people are able to reduce or eliminate some – or even avoid them altogether — when offered an alternative like chiropractic care. In this light, we hope, if possible, that we can all work to lighten the toxic load in our environment, and in our bodies, by considering drug-free options.

Stay Healthy and Balanced During this Season

As the seasons change and the holidays approach, it seems that many of us get slowed down by colds and flus.

Here are some simple tips to avoid this pitfall and maximize your performance during this season.

Nourish Yourself

Eat foods that are warming, fresh, and well cooked; avoid dry or uncooked foods (especially salads and raw fruits and vegetables).

Drink lots of warming liquids such as hot water and herbal teas to prevent dehydration. You can prepare a fresh ginger tea by placing a teaspoon of fresh grated ginger into a pint thermos bottle and filling it with hot water.

Don’t worry if your appetite seems stronger than usual as this is a natural tendency in winter. At the same time, of course, don’t eat to the point of discomfort.

Nourish Your Senses

Stay warm. Give yourself slow, gentle self-massage in the morning or before bed. Use a nourishing, warming oil such as sesame or almond.

Put a pleasantly scented herb plant, such as lavender or rosemary, on your table. As the days get darker and we come indoors more, it can soothe your senses to bring some outdoors in.

Sleep and Restful Awareness

Get enough sleep!

Learn to meditate. Life speeds up during this time so make sure you give yourself a time out and plan some quiet time, even if only for 5-10 minutes. Take time and recharge your system.

Thinking About True Health

What is health?

Many people think that health is simply “feeling good and looking good.” But true health is more than just the absence of disease. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, health is “the condition of being sound in body, mind and spirit.” The World Health Organization states that health is a “state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing,” not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. True health is the full expression of life! This is the chiropractic perspective.

Your body is built to experience true health. Your body is smart. It has an intelligence inside of it that has helped it to grow from two cells into the amazing, complex, dynamic being that you are today! These two cells have created a body complete with a very sophisticated nerve system that stretches for miles, and stores over 100 trillion bits of information. Your nervous system contains100 billion neurons that can send impulses at lightning speed to every cell, tissue, organ and system in your body.

Why, then, does our body sometimes not work the way we want it to? Why do we experience aches and pains, digestive problems, high blood pressure, depression, or other health challenges? Something is interfering with the body’s natural ability to function, self regulate and mend. This interference is usually caused by stresses and strains that accumulate on our spine on a daily basis, and over time. Examples of these stressors are:

Physical: sitting, bad sleep position, weak muscles, falls, injuries, repetitive strain.
Chemical : medications, environmental, and food chemicals
Mental/Emotional: daily tension that affects our physiology by triggering chemical reactions and creating changes in our physiology.

To be alive is to be under stress. It is impossible to avoid stress. It is not the stress, but how our bodies respond to stress that matters most in our overall health. Getting enough sleep, exercising, eating a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water, and practicing deep breathing are all ways to help your body adapt to stress. However, your spine, through which your nervous system controls your body’s ability to function and heal, is vital in your ability to adapt. Maintaining a healthy spine – or correcting a less-than-healthy spine — will help you adapt more quickly and be less susceptible to life’s stresses.

Adding regular chiropractic adjustments to your healthy lifestyle will take the pressure off your spine, allow your nervous system to function more effectively, and help you to experience the meaning of true health.

3 Types of Stress that Cause Nerve Interference

Today I was talking with a practice member and they were saying that OUT OF NOWHERE, they were experiencing back pain. I explained to her that it is never out of nowhere. For many of us, we are accumulating stress and strain on our spine through daily physical, chemical , and mental emotional stress. Examples of each of these stresses are shown below.

Physical: sitting, bad sleep position, weak muscles, falls, injuries, repetitive strain.
Chemical: medications, environmental, and food chemicals
Mental/Emotional: Daily tension can affect our physiology by triggering chemical reactions and creating changes in our physiology.

It’s impossible to avoid stress! To be alive is to be under stress. The question becomes what do you DO with the stress? Does it make you stronger or weaker?
We are all unique individuals and the same stress which makes one person sick can be invigorating experience for another (distress vs. eustress). It’s not the stress but how our bodies respond to the stress that matters most in our overall health.

Imagine three dolls: one made of glass, one of plastic, and one of steel. If you were to strike each with a hammer, what would happen???

The glass one shatters. This is similar to a person who CANNOT adapt to life’s stress. This person is the type who gets ill and/or dies as a result of increased stimulus in their life.

The plastic doll will scar. This type of person is not deeply damaged but they are hurt. They will recover but never completely heal.

The steel doll rings with a pleasant tone. This type of person adapts to stress quickly and thrives. The idea is this analogy is to think about what things help you to adapt to stress and be more of a steel drum. Do you deal with life better when you have a good night’s sleep? Eat good food? Take vacation? If you understand this concept, then you must be aware that your spine is VITAL in your ability to adapt.

Stop letting life work “your last nerve” and help yourself to adapt and respond to life appropriately by regularly getting adjustments to take the pressure off your spine. BE a steel drum and make great music in this world…