Did you know that nearly 20 percent of Americans suffer from chronic pain, including 65 percent of veterans? Chronic pain is more prevalent and of greater intensity in veterans than in the general population and can have substantial and complex effects. These effects will differ based on the severity, cause and specific nature of the pain. Here are some ways that chronic pain can affect our veterans:
Physical Health: Chronic pain can hinder veteran’s ability to perform daily tasks, engage in physical activities, or maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Mental Health: Chronic pain, especially if the injury is linked to a traumatic event that occurred in the line of duty, can often be linked with mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Sleep Disturbance: Chronic pain often disrupts sleep patterns which can lead to insomnia or poor sleep quality. Sleep problems can intensify other mental or health issues that veterans may already be experiencing.
Decreased Quality of Life: Chronic pain can significantly reduce a veteran's overall quality of life and disrupt their sense of well-being and purpose.
Impact on Military Service: For active-duty service members, chronic pain can limit their ability to perform their duties, potentially affecting their ability to promote or even lead to medical discharges or early retirements.
Veterans dealing with chronic pain may believe that the only option to treat their condition is expensive and potentially dangerous surgeries or pain medication, which can be ineffective, expensive and have harmful side effects. Thankfully, in the last two decades, chiropractic care has become a supported means of treatment for veterans experiencing pain. Chiropractic care was initially introduced into the VA healthcare system in the early 2000s. The goal was to provide veterans with non-pharmaceutical, non-surgical options for managing pain. Over the years, the VA has expanded its chiropractic services, making them available at numerous VA medical centers across the United States, also collaborating with other healthcare providers to ensure a comprehensive approach to veterans' care. This expansion reflects the acceptance of chiropractic care as a valued treatment option for veterans. Joint and back pain and other musculoskeletal ailments are the most common diagnoses among Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans. Chiropractic care can be particularly suitable for veterans dealing with joint and back pain, neck pain, and certain types of headaches.
Chiropractic care is generally non-invasive, meaning it does not involve surgery or the use of potentially harmful medications. This makes it a lower-risk option for veterans who may want to avoid more aggressive treatments. Chiropractors aim to reduce pain and improve the function of the musculoskeletal system. By focusing on proper alignment of the spine, a trained chiropractor can reduce the strain on muscles and help restore mobility to joints. Chiropractic care can be used alongside other treatments, such as physical therapy, to provide an all-inclusive approach to pain management. This can be particularly valuable for veterans with complex pain conditions.
Comprehensive chiropractic care will also consider not only the physical aspects of pain but also the patient's overall well-being. Chiropractors can provide advice on lifestyle changes, exercise and nutrition to support pain management. Some may incorporate relaxation techniques and a calming environment into their treatments, which may help veterans manage stress, anxiety or even PTSD. Chiropractors can also educate their patients about proper body mechanics and self-care strategies to prevent further injury and manage chronic pain. Veterans can learn techniques to maintain their health and reduce the risk of future pain episodes.
At Legacy Health Chiropractic, we honor our veterans and acknowledge the unique pain issues they experience. We value the opportunity to work with our veterans and to help them develop a comprehensive, non-invasive approach to manage pain and improve their quality of life for years to come.