At Issue: Chiropractic care for veterans - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

At Issue: Chiropractic care for veterans

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Serving our country takes a toll on soldiers' bodies. Studies have shown that spinal injuries among recent veterans are on the rise.

"When we look at post- 9/11 veterans, over half of them have a musculo-skeletal diagnosis. So over half of them are experiencing some sort of physical pain," says Dr. Sarah Paquette with Living Well Spinal Care Center. "And it makes sense. Everybody, regardless of shape or size, is dealing with roughly 90 lbs or more of gun, gear, ammo, armor, supplies on a daily basis. Add into that less-than-ideal sleeping situations, high stress, it doesn't matter what you're doing or where you are, you need to be adjusted. So it's not surprising that we're seeing this level of musculo-skeletal pain."

Pain that studies have shown can be helped by chiropractors. A 2011 study of veterans who sought chiropractic care for neck pain found 43 percent of them had less pain and 33 percent reported improved function.

And the amount of veterans seeking that care is up. From 2005 to 2013, the number of VA chiropractic clinics has doubled from 24 to 48, and the number of veterans receiving care at those clinics has gone from less than 4,000 to more than 25,000.

But in that same time frame, the number of veterans receiving non-VA chiropractic services increased from a thousand to more than 9,000.

That's because many veterans don't have access to chiropractors. Of the roughly 1,700 VA hospitals and clinics across the country, only 48 of them have chiropractic clinics. All of them, Dr. Paquette says, are prohibitively far away.

"So unless you're a veteran at one of those 48 clinics, you have no access to care because TriCare won't cover chiropractic for you," she says. "So we're seeing that there's a need, we're seeing that there's a solution, but there's no way for people to get to that solution."

She is looking to change that by volunteering with the Patriot Project, an effort to provide chiropractic care to veterans at no cost.

For more information on that program, call Living Well Spinal Care Center in South Burlington or visit their website: http://www.livingwellspinalcare.com/patriot-project/ 

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