In 2002, President George Bush signed Public Law 107-135, which assures chiropractic treatment for all eligible Veterans Affairs patients. Although, many veterans are not aware this service is available to them, despite its inclusion in their Medical Benefits Package since 2004.
Additionally, the VA is still seeking to make this service accessible to all veterans requiring care. According to the American Chiropractic Association, or ACA, only 48 of 152 Veterans Affairs Medical Centers currently offer chiropractic care for their patients.
If you’re a veteran suffering from a musculoskeletal disorder, or pain in the muscles, joints and bones, chiropractic care may be a treatment option for you.
The ACA defines chiropractic as a healthcare profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, as well as the effects of these disorders on overall health. More specifically, doctors of chiropractic, or DCs, treat individuals experiencing injuries or conditions associated with the bones, joints, muscles, and nerves. Through the common chiropractic methods of treatment, a chiropractor utilizes spinal adjustments or manual manipulations which is described as the administration of force to joints that have restricted mobility as a result of damaged or injured tissue in order to restore the joint’s natural state of mobility and allow the tissue to heal while relieving pain.
Frequently, individuals seek chiropractic care for back pain but chiropractors can also assist individuals suffering from neck pain or other types of pain resulting from an injury or accident, muscle spasms, headaches, pinched nerves, sciatica, and other complications relating to the spine, bones, and muscles.
Veterans in general have a higher chance of developing any of these conditions due to the strict nature of their military duties. The Seattle Times stated that merely walking and wearing heavy gear has caused many veterans a variety of musculoskeletal injuries. According to the article by Hal Bernton, “The number of soldiers medically retired from the Army with at least one musculoskeletal condition increased nearly 10-fold from 2003 to 2009.” These numbers were determined according to Army statistics.
As formerly mentioned, the law guarantees chiropractic care to all eligible veterans but currently, not all VA facilities are equipped to offer this service. As a veteran who would benefit from chiropractic treatment, there are two possible options for you. First, contact your Veterans Affairs primary care provided, or PCP, and determine if they can provide this service on site. If they do, ask to begin the process for approval. Second, if your PCP does not offer chiropractic treatment, the VA can use its fee-basis option, where they cam refer you to a private chiropractic clinic and cover the bill for you and this process also requires approval from your PCP.
Although Veterans Affairs has made great efforts to offer more chiropractic care throughout their VA Medical Clinics, many veterans still have limited access to treatment. The Patriot Project was started by Dr. Timothy P. Novelli back in 2012 and its currently another option for active duty service members and veterans who require medical assistance.
The Patriot Project was established to contribute with free chiropractic treatment for veterans with disabilities associated to their service, active duty military members and their families, and Gold Star dependents. The incentive for the development of this project began when Novelli traveled to Texas in 2012 for a HALO for Freedom Warrior Foundation which gathered and treated more than 150 service members in need of chiropractic care. He then understood that he could produce comfort and relief to many military service members and veterans whom didn’t know chiropractic was a possible treatment option.
Once he returned to North Canton, Ohio, Novelli gathered the support of doctors of chiropractic around the community to provide this service to veterans for free. Currently, over 500 chiropractors across all 50 states are participating in the Patriot Project. Every cooperating chiropractor guarantees to treat one qualified Patriot Project patient per week. The goal was to involve 6,000 chiropractors in the project, which is the same as $100,000,000 of free chiropractic treatment to America’s Service Members.
Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.elpasochiropractorblog.com
Generally, active duty service members and veterans may be at a higher risk of developing musculoskeletal injuries or conditions as a result of the strict nature of their military duties. Even simply wearing heavy gear and walking can cause complications for these valuable individuals. Treating their injuries is important and according to a law signed in 2002, veterans may be eligible for free chiropractic care at participating medical clinics. For more information, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at (915) 850-0900.
By Dr. Alex Jimenez
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