Nearly 20% of Americans suffer from chronic pain, including 65% of veterans. What’s more, veterans are two times more likely than non-veterans to die from accidental overdoses of highly addictive painkillers, according to the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress. But there is hope: Doctors of Chiropractic are uniquely poised to provide safe, effective and drug-free care, and the presence of chiropractors within Veterans Affairs facilities is growing throughout the U.S.–including right here in Logan’s backyard.
Kevin Meyer, trimester 10 DC student, is currently completing his preceptorship at the St. Clair County VA Clinic in Shiloh, Illinois. On his experience working with veterans, he says:
“Though my experiences have been limited due to the ongoing pandemic, it has been an honor to interact with and treat our nation’s veterans. These patients commonly present with chronic pain, often associated with their time in service. This creates a unique barrier to care, as patients have anchored onto this as the sole cause of their pain for many years. While this is true in some cases and our veterans undoubtedly deserve care for injuries related to their service, it poses a challenge in treating them as we know chronic pain is multifactorial in nature. They also often have a poor outlook on life due to this pain that has plagued them for so long, which creates another barrier to improvement.
“The VA St. Louis Health Care System is part of the Whole Health initiative, which aims to approach patient treatment through these multiple aspects of pain. Chiropractic care, along with acupuncture, yoga, mindfulness techniques, Tai Chi and other resources fall under this initiative to treat the entire patient and his or her causes of pain, not simply a symptom he or she is experiencing. As an integrative setting, clinicians in the VA are also able to better coordinate care and referrals for patients to ensure they see each provider who can help them with specific aspects of their pain experience.
I cannot recommend the VA rotation experience enough to upcoming students, as it helps to broaden our understanding of pain, how to treat patients with complex presentations and how we, as chiropractic physicians, fall into the ever-growing integrative system of health care.”
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress shares additional data on chiropractic care for active-duty military and veterans: