Serving in the military puts unique stress on the human body, and back pain is one of the most common complaints among veterans. Fortunately, there is a viable alternative to a lifetime of prescription painkillers or debilitating pain: chiropractic care.
Joint, body and back pain affect American veterans at a higher rate than non-veterans, particularly young to middle-aged vets. It’s no surprise that the rigors of jumping, climbing, heavy training and combat can take a heavy toll on the body of military personnel, and the resulting pain can and often does become debilitating. Among female veterans, low back pain is the single leading cause of morbidity, which is a term used to refer to conditions people live with indefinitely.
Back pain among veterans and non-veterans alike has the potential to hinder daily activities, greatly reduce the quality of life and can even result in short- or long-term disability. When military personnel experience injuries or stressors that cause back pain during active duty, extended and frequent deployments can exacerbate existing conditions dramatically. Veterans live with the physical toll of serving in the military for the rest of their lives, in many cases, but relief from chronic back pain is attainable through targeted care.
Seeking pain relief or treatment for back pain can lead to a long series of invasive procedures, surgical remedies and long-term prescriptions for powerful and addictive painkillers. This seemingly endless cycle offers little relief for many patients suffering from chronic pain, and a host of difficulties.
Working with a chiropractor who understands the unique needs of veteran patients can be effective for many patients. A study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics explored the effect of chiropractic care on the chronic pain of female veterans, and it showed improved clinical outcomes among participants from baseline to discharge under chiropractic care.
Mounting evidence of chiropractic care’s efficacy among the veteran population has even spurred lawmakers to propose a variety of bills to expand chiropractic care coverage under Veteran’s Affairs benefits. Many civilian health insurance plans even offer some form of chiropractic coverage, because it has been shown to be an effective treatment for patients with musculoskeletal pain.
The extensive education, training and licensure procedures undertaken by chiropractors leaves them with an in-depth understanding of not only spinal anatomy but also the many chiropractic therapies that have the potential to provide relief to patients with unique needs. Working with a qualified chiropractor to address back pain, as a veteran, means you’ll be able to access a wholly customized and unique treatment plan that includes not only spinal manipulation therapy but often a personalized exercise plan tailored to your needs and other components of whole-body treatment, which can make all the difference.
Back pain doesn’t have to be the defining takeaway from your military career. By addressing misalignments, subluxation, and injuries to the musculoskeletal system, a chiropractor can help to reduce pain levels, improve mobility and promote spinal health for a better quality of life and fewer bad days.