Free Chiropractic Care is available for eligible Vets!!
Chiropractic services are part of the standard Medical Benefits Package available to all eligible Veterans. Similar to other specialties, access to VA chiropractic services is by referral from a VA primary care or specialty provider. VA provides these services on-site at one or more VA facilities in each Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN). VA facilities that do not have on-site chiropractic clinics provide these services via the Choice Program or other community care mechanisms.
VA doctors of chiropractic (DCs) provide diagnosis and management of non-operative neuromuscular and musculoskeletal conditions. This most commonly includes problems in the low back, neck, and other joints. VA DCs are integrated with primary care, rehabilitation, pain management and other specialty teams.
VA DCs provide diagnosis and management consistent with both VA and external evidence-based guidelines. Chiropractic treatment options include patient education, active rehabilitation, spinal manipulation and other manual therapies. VA DCs may also provide acupuncture or other novel therapies as non-pharmacologic options for Veteran care.
Furthermore, the VA is still in the process of making this service accessible to all veterans in need.
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 worth pursuing. Here’s what you need to know about chiropractic care and how to receive it.
What is chiropractic care?
As explained by the ACA, “Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on general health.” In other words, Doctors of chiropractic (DCs) treat patients suffering from conditions related to the bones, muscles, joints and nerves. They commonly employ a method of treatment called “adjustment” or “manipulation,” which involves the application of force to joints that have limited mobility due to injured tissue. This manipulation technique restores mobility in the joint, allows the tissue to heal and relieves pain.
Most often, patients seek chiropractic care for back pain, but DCs also help patients experiencing neck pain, pain from accident or injury, muscle spasms, headaches, sciatica, pinched nerves, and problems related to the spine, bone and muscle.
Veterans in particular are at risk for these conditions due to the rigorous nature of their military duties. It’s been reported by The Seattle Times that simply walking and wearing heavy gear has caused 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, according to Army statistics.”
How can I receive chiropractic care through the VA?
As previously stated, the law guarantees chiropractic care to all eligible veterans, but at this time, not all VA facilities are equipped to offer this service. If you feel you would benefit from chiropractic treatment, you have two options.
First, contact your VA primary care provider (PCP) and see if they provide this service on site. If they do, ask to begin the process for approval.
Second, if your PCP does not offer chiropractic care, the VA can send you to a private chiropractic clinic and cover the bill for you. This option is called “fee-basis” and will also require approval from your PCP.