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.

Six Immune-Boosting Steps to a Healthy Winter

1. Get Adjusted. Clinical studies show that after an adjustment, subjects had 200 times as many immune cells as subjects who did not get adjusted. If you’re starting to feel symptoms, get an adjustment.

2. Get Outside. Sunshine and fresh air are two of the body’s most important nutrients! Healthy Vitamin D levels from moderate sun exposure are linked to stronger immune systems. In the winter, avoid being cooped up indoors, breathing in toxins and allergens. Get outside for at least a few minutes a day, and breathe!

3. Calm Stress. The nervous system and the immune system are inextricably linked. That’s why you may be more likely to “get sick” more when you are stressed-out.
Getting adjusted is like getting a tune-up for your nervous system, giving it the tools to keep stress at bay. Meditation, massage, and moderate exercise like walking and yoga are also great stress-busters.

4. Let the Good Bugs Grow. Did you know that 60-70% of your immune system is located in your gut? Keep your digestion running smoothly, and fight bad bugs with good ones, by taking a daily probiotic and eating naturally fermented and cultured foods like real sauerkraut, kombucha and kefir.

5. Give Yourself a Natural Boost. Herbal supplements and foods like elderberry, echinacea and goldenseal, olive leaf, garlic, ginger and coconut oil have natural immune-enhancing and anti-microbial properties. Cod liver oil, long a staple in the northern climates, contains a significant amount of vitamin D, plus health-enhancing Omegas.

6. Drink More Water! Our health is truly dependent on the quality and quantity of water that we drink. Your body is made up of mostly water, and every organ and metabolic process in your body relies on having enough water to function optimally and flush out toxins. So drink up!

About Vitamin D – Part Three

As we wrote about last week, vitamin D is an important ingredient of human nutrition, which is in the form of vitamin D2 and D3. Vitamin D is required by the human body in small quantities; but, a regular intake of the foods containing vitamin D is necessary for good overall health. Because we spend so much more time indoors or blocking sunlight when we are outside, the production of vitamin D in the human skin has reduced drastically.

Foods That Contain Vitamin D

• One of the biggest food sources of vitamin D is the oil that is derived from fish such as Cod. Most of the fish that contain a generous amount of fat prove to be a good source of vitamin D.
• The cod liver oil that is derived from the cod fish, if consumed regularly and periodically proves to be very healthy for the body, especially for the skin.
• Herring also provides a good quantity of vitamin D.
• Some fish become good sources of vitamin D, only when they are cooked. Some of the prominent examples are: Salmon, Mackerel and Eel.
• Canned Sardine and Tuna are also very good sources of vitamin D.
• Some people are always surprised to hear this, but an egg consumed every day also provides the required quantity of vitamin D in the human body.
• Cooked beef, liver and some specific types of mushrooms are also very good vitamin D food sources.
• It is also advisable that if possible, one should stand in the fresh morning sunlight for about 10 to 15 minutes every day, in order to generate natural and adequate quantities of vitamin D in the skin itself.

About Vitamin D, Part Two

Lack of Vitamin D — Symptoms

There are many factors that lead to the presence of symptoms due to lack of Vitamin D. Some of these reasons are given below.

• Lack of foods rich in vitamin D in your diet.
• Minimal exposure to sunlight.
• Failure of kidneys to convert vitamin D to its active form.
• Dark skin shade in people.
• Inability of digestive tract to absorb vitamin D.
• Using too much sunscreen.
• Age and hereditary conditions.

If you are displaying lack of vitamin D symptoms, you need not worry too much because there are many cures and remedies available to you.

Depending on your age, severity of symptoms and hereditary factors, your doctor will prescribe certain medications and vitamin supplements to you to reduce and eradicate these lack of vitamin D symptoms. S/he will either provide you with some long term solutions, or alternately even give you some short term solutions, depending on which will suit you better.