NewsUSA – For years, the military has worried that an over-reliance on prescription painkillers was putting both veterans and active-duty troops at risk of addiction, serious adverse reactions, and accidental death. The problem was found to be greatest among veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan—particularly those with post-traumatic stress disorder—who, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, may have been given "potentially inappropriate" prescriptions for opioids in a misguided attempt to quickly relieve their suffering.
Change has been in the works as the military expands its use of alternative treatments like chiropractic care. In fact, Dr. Robert D. Kerns, the national program director for pain management at the Department of Veterans Affairs, told The New York Times that the study "encourages" his department, as well as the Pentagon's health system, to "build on our existing initiatives."
More well-rounded approaches to healthcare remain paramount as Congressional committees continue to follow up on last year's Veterans Health Administration scandal. "We have said for a long time that sending a veteran out of the door with a bagful of pills is not a solution," Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) said in investigating allegations that a Tomah, Wisconsin, Veterans Affairs hospital was prescribing "excessive dosages of opiates."
Over recent years, as more research has poured in about the positive effects of chiropractic care, including for military personnel, the field has continued to gain supporters. A 2013 study published in the journal Spine, for example, found that 73 percent of participating active-duty military patients with acute low-back pain receiving a combination of chiropractic manipulative treatment and standard medical care rated their global improvement as "pain completely gone," "much better" or "moderately better." Just 17 percent in the same study who received only standard care said likewise.