Monday, October 26, 2015

Chiropractic for our Nation's Heroes

How do we properly "serve" those that have served us with such devotion? The United States spends more on Military and Defense than any other country, and you only need see one "person" in uniform to see a small cog in a very large machine that we call our Military complex. As a society, then shall we be defined partially by how well we take care of those that have sacrificed so much as an individual for our country as a whole? On a personal level, I respond with an adamant yes. As a Chiropractic Physician, I also resound with yes. The question, however is regarding just how well we perform this act of service to those that have served. How "well" do we, as a country, take care of those that return back home to their wives, husbands, and children in order to continue a "normal" life of happiness? I will openly recognize the overt complexity of such a topic, as unfortunately many return home broken, shot, stabbed, or otherwise both physically and/or mentally/emotionally changed or damaged. I feel it is our duty and obligation to support those returning home in every way possible! I believe Chiropractic to be an integral part of this larger puzzle.

How does Chiropractic Care fit into this discussion? I believe Chiropractic care should be more readily provided to all servicemen and servicewomen. This is based on the extreme physical nature of military service and the fact that not withstanding personal experience, there is a plethora of research on the benefits of Chiropractic Care with regards to the very same or similar stresses and injuries that are likely to occur with military service. There are numerous citations regarding both the cost-effectiveness and efficacy of Chiropractic Care, ranging from the Magna Report, multiple state worker's compensation boards, to general Low Back Pain and Pain Management studies conducted over the last few decades. As a blanket-statement, Chiropractic has been repeatedly shown to return injured individuals to work in 1/2 the time and at 1/2 the cost of many traditional Pharmacological programs when provided. Do I believe that Chiropractic Care should replace traditional forms of care? No, rather we must look at each healing art as a "tool", and for every job, there is the more appropriate tool or combination of tools in order to effectively complete the task at hand. Chiropractic is a very effective and efficient tool, and it can be applied in many ways. Unfortunately, however, it is a "tool" that is often not available enough in order to be as effective as it could be. What I am advocating for here is this: that Chiropractic as a proven effective tool, should be made more readily available to all of our military personnel. Although I applaud increasing utilization,  currently Chiropractic is only available on a limited basis to sparing Bases around the Country and world, and certainly much more limited to those in active combat zones. A number of my patients have directly told me that while in an active duty, the only form of Chiropractic care they were able to receive was from another soldier present as a reservist that just happened to be a Chiropractor. I strongly advocate for a well-rounded "Health Care Team" that is available to both active, disabled, and retired military personnel that they have access to, consisting of a combination of both traditional and proven non-traditional forms of choice. I believe that an increasingly used combination of Chiropractic and Medical care to our military would offer substantial benefits that are already being seen on a limited basis. Currently, Chiropractic seems to be in a "proving grounds" phase in the Military and VA, I believe that as we move forward over the years, that Chiropractic will see its way into Military and VA direct-provider ship roles. I feel that there is strong potential for locum-based resident/ internship roles with the co-care of young Medical and Chiropractic Doctors from various Medical and Chiropractic Schools to be integrated into military bases and VA facilities all over the world to both aide in overburdened programs as well as create a functional operating structure of co-care from the ground up.
In 15 years of practice, I have always taken care of active duty and retired Military at a "Military" rate in order to better provide care to the Chiropractic-ally under served Military community. I do this to give back to those that keep my family safe and free in appreciation, I also do this to help them get the care they need when it is not always yet available to them as a part of their existing care options. I see success with this time and time again and will continue to do so until I stop practicing. I would call for all Chiropractors to make a place for our Military in their practices on a discounted basis to say thank you and give back to them. I am certain that as we do this, we will inherently see an increasing availability of Chiropractic services within the Military itself, if only due to the self-reported successes that service men and service women are and will report back so that it becomes a more functional part of their existing options for care.  

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