Category Archives: The US Military & Chiropractic

Access to Chiropractic for Military Families

The NavyTimes reported on a possible revamping of the military medical system recently

Washington policymakers will soon begin consideration of the biggest overhaul of the military health care system since Tricare replaced CHAMPUS in the early 1990s — changes that would shift millions of beneficiaries to commercial, private-sector health plans.

This plan is purported to save the Pentagon billions of dollars as well as improving access to care for over 9 million military families.

Participants would have to provide the same services now covered by Tricare, including inpatient and outpatient services, medical and surgical care, mental health and substance abuse treatment, maternity care and pediatrics, preventive care and more.

But some plans could offer benefits that the current Tricare program doesn’t — chiropractic care, fertility treatments, acupuncture and more — at various costs.

The commission, whose members included six retired military officers, a Navy reservist and a Medal of Honor recipient, all with legislative and professional expertise in military pay-and-benefits issues, says the program, called Tricare Choice, would give families more choice of doctors, better access and improved treatment.

For the full article visit

chriscapitolstraightTo support improved access to chiropractic for our military and their families you can sign up for alerts about legislation affecting chiropractic at or you can visit the legislative action center for the ACA ( to find current issues and contact your representative or senator to make your voice heard.  There are currently 3 federal issues that affect chiropractic and the military. Take a look and support our troops.

Cold Laser Therapy and de Quervain’s

People have been asking lately about laser therapy, so I thought I’d explain it a little and sneak in a quick condition at the same time.

De Quervain’s is the name for tenosynovitis of the thumb extender and abductor muscles.  Which is to say the tendons that move your thumb hurt at the wrist because inflammation isn’t allowing them to move properly.  It is more common in women, but anyone doing repetitive motions with their thumb such as typing, cashiering, mechanics, etc. is susceptible.  If you have it you may notice a “squeaky thumb,” pain when moving your thumb and decreased grip strength.  In my experience this condition doesn’t usually go away on it’s own.  Similar to carpal tunnel syndrome it just keeps coming back unless you receive proper care.

Many things are done for treatment of this condition.  Chiropractic manipulation and massage of the area are beneficial as well as reducing use.  You’ll likely need to talk with your employer about decreasing or changing your duties for a time while you heal.  There are also many electrical modalities that are beneficial for de Quervain’s.

That’s where the Cold Laser comes in.  Cold Laser is called many names but it is all the same thing, particular light waves that have been found to increase cellular metabolism.  In essence when exposed to these wavelengths of light your cells heal faster, and hurt less.  That’s a good thing.

LLLTIt’s an odd sort of treatment because you normally don’t feel anything at the time.  Kind of like magic with good research behind it.  We just put this wand with a laser or LEDs on the injured area and hold it there for a few moments with the light on.  The reason I bring Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) up with this condition is the relief time.  Generally speaking my patients are able to notice effects of LLLT within the first day, but I had a patient with de Quervain’s who claimed instantaneous relief with LLLT.  It was amazing to me and worth reporting to you.

So, if you have pain at your wrist from thumb movement visit your chiropractor and ask them about Cold Laser Treatment.

Brief Update RE: Commission Chiropractors

Total co-sponsors of the House Resolution 294 are up to 20 now. The most recent addition signed on just yesterday. For details see The Senate Resolution is moving well also, but they both still need your support. Please give your stories, and your support. Let’s get our troops the care they need and deserve.

The Department of Defense Answered Me

After months of waiting and re submitting I finally received an answer from the Department of Defense today. Here’s the story of how it happened, paper trail included. I found the DoD contact site and it is basically a database of previously answered questions (a knowledge base). So I looked through the KB and did not find any reference to my question, so the last option they give you is to ask a question. I did. here it is:

Question Reference #080225-000014

Category Level 1: Department of Defense Category Level 2: Military Healthcare/TRICARE

Date Created: 02/25/2008 02:47 PM The DoD has authorization and has been requested by congress to create a career path for chiropractors in the military. There is a new House Concurrent Resolution 294 renewing this request. What is the reason behind not commissioning chiropractors yet, and is there a plan to do so in the near future?

I think my first mistake was claiming that a career path has been requested. That’s not entirely true. Commissioning chiropractors was mentioned in previous legislation, but the desire to get soldiers the care was the priority. It is also my desire to get soldiers the chiropractic care that they need, and I would be fine if the DoD had actually followed through with their plan to do just that, but the problem is that they haven’t. It also seems simpler to commission chiropractors and send them where ever needed than to try to get civilian DCs to go to a war zone. Anyway, the replies came quickly and repeatedly:

Auto-Response – 02/26/2008 03:26 PM

Auto-Response – 03/24/2008 02:36 AM

Auto-Response – 03/26/2008 07:35 PM

These auto responses were merely KB articles that had nothing to do with my query, but were merely FAQs. I was sent these replies and my question was given a status of Solved. I then updated the query as follows:

03/26/2008 07:35 PM Why was this question marked resolved. I looked through each of these auto-response articles, and none of them had anything to do with commissioning chiropractors in the military. I repeat the question, What is the reason behind not commissioning chiropractors yet, and is there a plan?

This update was followed by:

Auto-Response – 03/27/2008 03:11 PM

Auto-Response – 04/04/2008 05:22 PM

To which I responded:

04/04/2008 05:22 PM The auto response is always the same, and does not relate to my question. Please respond.

I got back:

Auto-Response – 04/07/2008 10:09 AM

Auto-Response – 04/07/2008 10:32 AM

You may have guessed I was getting sick of this and resolved to just keep checking the status and not do anything unless they tried to mark it resolved again. My patience paid off. Today, I was rewarded with this (emphasis added):

Recently you requested personal assistance from our on-line support center. Below is a summary of your request and our response.

Thank you for contacting the Department of Defense…

…We are the Office of Public Communication, a part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs…

…Response (jclark) – 05/06/2008 02:30 PM

Dear Chris Duncan:

Thank you for your comments and for taking the time to contact the Department of Defense.

We apologize for the delay in responding to your e-mail. We appreciate your e-mail and thank you for your interest.

We’ve tried to find a definitive answer to this query but the unofficial word is there are no plans to make a career field for chiropractors because the services are able to supply the service through civilian practitioners. The understanding is that Congress only required the service, not to put chiropractors in uniform.

The Office of Public Communication


OK! So the official, unofficial answer is basically, we’re not gonna do it. My knee jerk reaction was to yell at someone, “If the Services are supplying chiropractic then why are soldiers still coming to me paying out of pocket to see a chiropractor and telling me they can’t utilize the TRICARE benefit?” The answer is that only around 40 of the over 200 military treatment facilities provide “the service.” You know that service that was guaranteed to them years ago. The nearest site for the soldiers returning to my area to be treated is in Colorado, and I’m in Utah.

That was my knee jerk reaction. After having thought about it for a little while I decided just to take action instead of being angry. It’s OK that I’m passionate about providing for the troops, but being angry doesn’t help anyone. So, here’s what I did. I gave a copy of the email to and now I’m blogging about it. Hopefully I will get others to read this blog and do something about it. Try visiting that site, look at some of the information, and help out if you can.

I’m an Army brat that would love to serve my country in my current profession, but I’m not allowed to serve those who I think need it the most. Please help out.

Hawaii the Navy and Me

Exactly 4 weeks ago I applied for a civilian position with the US Navy. I figured that this would be one step closer, and put me in a better position to talk to people about commissioning Chiropractors in the Militarychiropractors. So far, no news. The application says that they will let me know one way or another, but 4 weeks, wow. I guess that’s good news. They would have sent me a letter already if I wasn’t even in the running, right? So, to keep up my optimism I thought I’d let everyone else know how great it is to not know if I’ll be heading to Hawaii soon.

Even if I don’t get the position with the Navy I plan to keep up with the goal to get chiropractors commissioned. I have sent letters/email to every candidate for president asking their position on the topic, and why they haven’t signed up to cosponsor the current resolutions. The current senate resolution is in the Armed Services Committee which both Hillary Clinton and John McCain sit on. I would hope that they would respond regarding a resolution that is before them at this time.

The house bill is faring a little better. The committee there has co-sponsors of the bill in the committee. A congressman from my state sits on that committee, but will not respond to me because I am not in his district. My call to everyone else out there if you have a Senator or Rep. who represents you please contact them, find out their position on this topic and urge them to co-sponsor the resolutions (HCR 294 & SCR 75). Then, report back to me so I can post their responses.

To find who your representatives are visit The get involved section there will link you to find your reps. There is all sorts of other good information there also.

Commission Chiropractors in the US Military

Many of our brave soldiers serving overseas have been promised chiropractic care in their health care benefits, but are not able to access them because there are no chiropractors commissioned in the military to be stationed overseas with them.


The history of chiropractic support of our military personnel is long. In 1944 the first bill to commission chiropractors was introduced in the United States Congress. In 1985 the DoD was directed to determine cost effectiveness of chiropractic. The first President Bush authorized the DoD to commission chiropractors in 1992. The Chiropractic Health Care Demonstration Program (CHCDP) that ended in September 1999 showed overwhelmingly that chiropractic would be beneficial to our troops and to the military. It was replaced by the Chiropractic Care Program in 2001, which was to extend chiropractic care to all active duty military personnel by 2003. In 2004 the Secretary of Defense was required to speed up the implementation of this program so that all service men and women would be able to access chiropractic care by October of 2005. Currently in 2008 according to Tricare’s website, barely a fifth, 49 of 232, Military Treatment Facilities (MTF) offer chiropractic services. This information is from Please visit there for additional information.

Recently in both the US House and Senate concurrent resolutions were introduced calling for the immediate commissioning of chiropractors into the US Armed Forces.

These are great steps but unfortunately these resolutions do not have the force of law. The Department of Defense still has to choose to act on this. They have had 16 years to act. Contact your Senator or Representative to let them know of your support for this action.