The Battle Marches Slowly Forward To Bring Chiropractic to the Military

Vol. 12 Issue 121

The struggle to make Chiropractic care available to all of this country's deserving soldiers and veterans continues to achieve some victories. Per the latest round of federal legislation, 11 additional treatment facilities will receive funding to provide services to active-duty military personnel.

Members of the Chiropractic profession have been working hard to lobby Congressional representatives toward making services available to all active duty and veteran service people. The latest victory in this quest came when Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the Fiscal Year 2009. In it, Congress mandated that the Secretary of Defense must see to it that Chiropractic services are made available at 11 additional treatment facilities.

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) has been strongly behind the continued lobbying effort in Congress where Chiropractic generally finds more support than it does among military leadership. "Despite opposition by Chiropractic competitors and an all-to-often unreceptive bureaucracy within the Department of Defense (DoD) healthcare system, we are making strides to increase the number of active-duty personnel with access to much-needed Chiropractic care." These were the words of Glenn Manceaux, DC, who is the president of the ACA.

Also involved in the effort to bring more Chiropractic to military personnel are members of the Association of Chiropractic Colleges (ACC). "Given the DoD's unsympathetic attitude, it is remarkable that any pro-Chiropractic provision survived the legislative process and was included in the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act," said Carl Cleveland III, DC, president of the ACC. "Some at the DoD would like to limit the Chiropractic program to its current plateau of 49 bases, but Congress continues to support program expansion and for that, we are very grateful."

Military personnel involved in the current war in Iraq stand to be the major beneficiaries of this legislation. Observation of medically evacuated soldiers continues to show that the type of injuries sustained can most effectively be treated by a chiropractor. These include low back injuries and pain which is sustained by some 53 percent of victims. Additional injures include extremity pain that accounts for 23 percent of problems. Herniated disc is also a common diagnosis that involves about 25 percent of all pain disorders. Per a study published in the Journal Anesthesia & Analgesia, "The major cause of attrition in recent wars has not been battle-inflicted injuries but more ordinary conditions such as accidents and musculoskeletal complaints."

Given all of this information, the battle to bring Chiropractic to all service personnel continues. Another round of actions will need to begin when a new president and a new Congress are seated in January. Deserving personnel who have given much for this country will be the future beneficiaries of a fight for Chiropractic services that will need to go on in Congress and in the DoD for many years to come.

Source: Dynamic Chiropractic. "The Slow March Toward Full Inclusion." October 2008.

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