Chiropractic in the Armed Services and Help for Veterans

By Doctor Paul Calladine (Chiropractor)

veterans affairs

Did you know that chiropractic has only recently been integrated into armed forces around the world? Australia was one of the first countries to offer chiropractic care both to active service men and women and to returned veterans.


In this blog we'll discuss chiropractic's role in managing chronic pain and injury and how veterans may be entitled to chiropractic care.

Chiropractic in the Armed Services

Chiropractic is extremely beneficial in managing chronic pain and injury to the musculoskeletal system and is now used in the Australian, Canadian and American armed services, among others.


Often, many soldiers are injured on the battlefield or during training and unfortunately for many, chronic pain is written off as a new way of life. According to Dr. Erff of the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Centre Pain Clinic (1), the very nature of a soldiers job puts them at high risk of developing chronic pain. Chronic pain resulting from serious trauma affects many veterans and soldiers. The pain interferes with their ability to function on a daily basis and for many, a life of prescription pain killers is what follows. These pain killers, while providing pain relief, are extremely addictive and long term taking of medication can have serious side effects.


The need for an alternative to pain killers

It is widely accepted that painkiller use and abuse for active service men and women and veterans is a problem. A recent US study (2) claims that between 2001 and 2011 the use of painkillers such as hydrocodone among military personal and veterans increased 56%. They are highly addictive and as one veteran noted, "my life revolved around when my next pill would come." Additionally, cases of suicide due to addiction have been documented. For example, in the counties surrounding Fort Bragg there have been over 300 deaths related to the use of pain killers (Brooks 2013).


How Chiropractic is Helping

Chiropractic is an effective therapy for many cases of back pain, neck pain and headaches. Back pain is especially common in the armed services. Several studies have been carried out to assess the efficacy of chiropractic care in managing chronic pain. Randomised trials found that chiropractic care (spinal manipulation) can be effective for lower back pain. Specifically, one study in 2013 (3) evaluated chiropractic for military personal. The study revealed a reduction in pain and improvement in physical well-being for military patients compared to a control (Goertz et al. 2013).


Chiropractic in Action

Australia was actually one of the first countries to integrate chiropractic care with both their armed services and returned veterans. This was legislated in 1986 under, among other pieces of legislation, the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 and with the Gold Card, White Card and Allied Veterans programs. Chiropractic care commenced in the USA Military in 2001 with legislation to make chiropractic a permanent medical benefit for military and veterans and was offered at select military facilities from 2004 and is now rolled out nationally. In Canada a pilot project was run in 2006 and is now rolled out nationally.

Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) and Chiropractic Benefits in Drummoyne, Sydney

Chiropractic Care is Available through Allied Health and Veteran's Affairs (DVA) referrals. In Australia the Department of Veterans' Affairs is very supportive and encourages people to seek chiropractic care. Lyons Road Family Chiropractic proudly supports this program and currently provides chiropractic care to several veterans through their DVA referrals. Several patients come from the Inner West and travel to our clinic for this type of care.

Book a chiropractic check up today

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If you would like to learn more or to book a consultation with a chiropractor, please call or email today.


(02) 9819 6182

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About Dr Paul Calladine (Chiro) B.Sc.(Biol.), B.Sc.(Anat.), M.Chiro. (Gonstead Diplomate) and Lyons Road Family Chiropractic.

Lyons Road Family Chiro and Dr Paul (Chiro) have been serving the health care needs of Sydney's Inner West, Chiswick and Drummoyne communities for over 23 years. Paul is originally from Canada and has obtained high levels of tertiary qualifications from both Canada and Australia. Paul is a wealth of information on all things natural, on fitness, long term health, nutrition and of course, chiropractic. Paul enjoys treating a wide variety of patients ranging in ages from newborn babies to the ninety set, and everyone in between.


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  1. Deal P, Carl R. Darnell Army Medical Center Public Affairs. Relief in sight for chronic pain sufferers. (last accessed 2013-12-12)
  2. Brooks D, Hearing spotlights painkiller overuse among soldiers. (last accessed 2013-12-12)
  3. Goertz CM, Long CR, Hondras MA, Petri R, Delgado R, Lawrence DJ, Owens EF, Meeker WC. Adding chiropractic manipulative therapy to standard medical care for patients with acute low back pain: results of a pragmatic randomized comparative effectiveness study. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2013 Apr 15;38(8):627-34. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e31827733e7.

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