Dynamic Chiropractic – June 3, 2011, Vol. 29, Issue 12

In the Navy! (And the Army)

By Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher

As a former regular reader of the Navy Times (two years active duty and four years reserve, 1973-1979), I was excited to see chiropractic make the news recently. An article in the March 14, 2011 issue informed 332,000 naval personnel about the "new $7.4 million taxpayer-funded grant for chiropractic research."1-2 (We reported on this news in the April 9 issue; read "On the Front Lines of Chiropractic Research; Historic Grant for Palmer, Rand Corporation and Samueli Institute to Study Chiropractic for Active-Duty Military Personnel.)

According to the Navy Times article, the researchers "will study new treatments for musculoskeletal injuries common among troops." The article went on to say that "chiropractors have become widely accepted in the military medical community during the past several years. Dozens of military treatment facilities now have chiropractors on staff."

These are big changes since I left the Navy over three decades ago. Back then, care was basically limited to drugs, surgery and psychological counseling. What is exciting about this article is how it presents chiropractic care in a new light. Even though DCs have been caring for U.S. military personnel for over a century, chiropractic has always been on the outside looking in. Efforts over the past few decades have opened several doors, placing DCs on some (but not nearly enough) military bases. These efforts have blazed the trail for this most recent grant.

The article reveals to all naval personnel who don't have access to chiropractic care that it is available on other bases and that it is something they may be entitled to receive. In essence, the article has created awareness and will potentially create demand. It recognizes that this chiropractic study is not just about low back pain. Indeed, in this article, chiropractic is allowed to expand beyond the usual LBP box into areas that are directly relevant to men and women in the armed forces:

"The four-year study will assess how chiropractic treatment can improve military readiness by relieving lower-back pain, as well as improving strength, balance and reaction times. The study also will assess whether chiropractic intervention can help service members stop smoking."

The article ends with a photograph of "chiropractor Dr. Carley Davis [performing] a cervical adjustment on 1st Lt. Walker Hoffman at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss." It's a great photo of a typical cervical adjustment and a great photo of a doctor of chiropractic doing what we do best.

It feels good to see doctors of chiropractic potentially serving hundreds of thousands of service members. DCs are still not eligible to be commissioned officers as doctors, but I believe that time will come. The more we are integrated, the more the benefits of chiropractic care will become known. The funding of this research project is just the beginning of the possibilities.

A similar article appeared in the Army Times on the same issue date (not a big surprise, as they are both published by the same company). The publishing of this article adds another 548,000 soldiers to the ranks of those who are being informed about chiropractic. If you add in dependents (family members), we are looking at between a million and 2 million people who gained exposure to chiropractic research, this study in particular, the availability of chiropractic care in the military health care system and the possibility of chiropractic being beneficial for more than just low back pain.

Thus far, 2011 has already been a great year for positive studies, articles and information about chiropractic. These are not happenstance. They are the result of decades of time and energy invested by many within our profession.

The circulation of this positive information within the consumer and health care communities couldn't come at a better time. This information will help to open eyes and change minds regarding the potential benefits of including chiropractic for more than just low back pain.


  1. "Record Grant to Fund Study of Troop Chiropractic Care." Navy Times, March 14, 2011.
  2. "On the Front Lines of Chiropractic Research." Dynamic Chiropractic, April 9, 2011.

Read more findings on my blog: http://blog.toyourhealth.com/wrblog/. You can also visit me on Facebook.

Click here for more information about Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher.


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