November 11, 2014 — The men and women of our nation’s Armed Forces make huge sacrifices in service to our country, including sacrifices to their health. This Veterans Day, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) would like to thank veterans for their service.
Members of the military serve in austere conditions and routinely wear gear weighing up to 80 pounds. A February 2010 Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) report cites “diseases of Musculoskeletal System/Connective System,” such as back pain as the No. 1 ailment of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans accessing VA treatment. Doctors of chiropractic (DCs) are experts in the treatment of neuromusculoskeletal problems and their natural approach can eliminate or reduce the need for drugs and surgery in some cases.
Chiropractic’s non-drug approach is particularly important today in light of headlines about the rampant overuse and abuse of prescription opioid medications among troops. According to VA officials, more than 600,000 veterans use opioid painkillers, and experts say they often contribute to job loss, family strife, homelessness, and suicide, as well as weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease.
The U.S. military is now investigating chiropractic services and other conservative treatment strategies to mitigate the alarming rate of opioid abuse and addiction among troops. Early results of that research (Goertz, Spine 2013) show that combining chiropractic manipulative treatment with medical care provides significant improvement in lessening pain and enhancing solider readiness.
DCs are honored to serve veterans within the VA healthcare system and in local communities. The ACA has worked diligently over the years to ensure that America’s veterans have access to chiropractic services. Today, more than 40 VA treatment facilities in the United States offer chiropractic care.