Military Benefit from Combination of Chiropractic Care and Standard Medical Care

Statistically, most people experience back pain at some point of life. 

Many seek relief from their medical doctor, often receiving medications, such as opioids, or even referred for surgery.  However, in doing so, they may be missing out on the safer choice of chiropractic.

This trend is mirrored in the military health care system.  A 2013 study evaluated “changes in pain levels and physical functioning in response to standard medical care (SMC) versus SMC plus chiropractic manipulative therapy (chiropractic adjustments) for the treatment of low back pain among 18 to 35-year-old active-duty military personnel.

“Standard care included any or all of the following:

  • a focused history and physical examination,
  • diagnostic imaging as indicated,
  • education about self-management including maintaining activity levels as tolerated,
  • pharmacological (drug) management with the use of analgesics and anti-inflammatory agents, and
  • physical therapy and modalities such as heat/ice and referral to a pain clinic…” 

Chiropractic treatments “consisted of HVLA [high velocity low amplitude a.k.a. chiropractic adjustment] manipulation as the primary approach in all cases, with ancillary treatments at the doctor’s discretion.  Those ancillary treatments included brief massage, the use of ice or heat in the lumbar area, stretching exercises, McKenzie exercises, advice on activities of daily living, postural/ergonomic advice, and mobilization”. 

The results of the study revealed “a statistically and clinically significant benefit to those receiving chiropractic manipulative therapy (adjustments) in addition to standard medical care”. 

They go on to recommend that chiropractic provided “a significant advantage for decreasing pain and improving physical functioning compared with only standard medical care” for the soldiers. 

Chiropractic care is also a covered service for veterans, but not all VA facilities have a chiropractor on site.  In that case, there are provisions for the veterans to be treated off base at a local chiropractic office.

For more information about chiropractic and the military, you may visit other articles on our site:


Source: Patient Outcomes Proves More Effective with Chiropractic Combined with Standard Medical Care Than Standard Medical Care Alone in the Military by D. Scott Ferguson, DC; William J. Owens, DC, DAAMLP; and Mark Studin, DC, FASBE(c), DAAMLP, DAAPM.