With all of the rigorous combat and training U.S military members endure, it’s no surprise that many veterans suffer from chronic pain from the lingering effects of active duty. The physical stress of carrying heavy loads, running with body armor, or jumping out of planes can have a long-term negative impact on their bodies. The most common diagnosis among Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is back and joint pain, according to research on pain management conducted by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Since 2004, chiropractic services have been included as part of the standard Medical Benefits Package available to all eligible veterans. Veterans can access VA chiropractor services either by referral from a VA or specialty care provider. Veterans can either receive treatment at an on-site chiropractic clinic if the VA has one or from a private chiropractor through the Community Care Program. Although veterans’ use of VA chiropractic services continues to grow at a rapid rate, there are currently only 70 VA facilities across the country that have chiropractic clinics.
Reasons to Seek Treatment
The VA continues to assess and modify its delivery of chiropractic services to meet veteran demand. According to a study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, from 2005-2015, VA chiropractic clinics increased from 27 to 65 and the number of veterans receiving care in these clinics increased from 4,000 to more than 37,000.
Common Causes for Veterans to Seek Chiropractic Care Include:
- Neck pain
- Pain from an accident
- Muscle spasms
- Headaches related to tension or strain
- Pinched nerve
- Other problems related to the spine, muscles, and bones
Common Conditions for Veterans
Veterans frequently experience back conditions after their time in service, whether it be from an injury or wear and tear due to the physical demands. Back conditions can greatly impact a veteran’s ability to perform activities of daily living or work responsibilities. Common back conditions veterans experience are:
- Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD), also known as osteoarthritis of the spine, usually occurs in the lower back or neck. This is a condition where the discs between the vertebrae lose fragment, cushioning, and end up herniating. In some cases, it can result in numbness and tingling.
- Lumbosacral or Cervical Strain is an injury of the ligaments, tendons, and/or muscles of the lower back or neck. This condition usually results from stretching that causes a small tear in the issues due to overuse or trauma. Symptoms include pain, trouble bending, and limited range of motion.
- Intervertebral Disc Syndrome, also known as bulging or herniated discs, is a back condition that involves irritation of the nerve root. This condition causes sharp, chronic pain and other symptoms such as numbness or tingling and weakness.
Chiropractors take a more natural route to helping the body heal in an effort to avoid pain medicines, such as opiates. They look at the body’s structure and function, focusing on the spine and muscles and how they can strengthen and rehabilitate them. Treatment methods can include patient education, active rehabilitation, physical therapy, spinal manipulation, or other manual therapies.
RSI Physical Medicine is proud to provide chiropractic care through the VA for our veterans. Many people will benefit from a comprehensive treatment plan provided by their chiropractor. There are many different treatment options that your chiropractor can provide, such as manual adjustments, massage therapy, or laser therapy in addition to a stretching and exercise plan. If you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Fierro, call (904) 270-2673 to see how he can help you with your back or neck pain today.