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This article goes out to all the veterans. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and anything else I failed to mention.

Thank you.

We’ll start with that. I’m sure you don’t hear it enough. I’m even more certain you don’t feel it enough. For those of us who have never served in the armed forces, there is a tendency to forget how much our freedoms depend on the sacrifices you have made at home and abroad. And that goes to the families left behind while you are serving abroad as well. That sacrifice of time is no less valid or valorous.

I have had the honor and privilege of providing chiropractic care to a number of vets through the years, and often they will share their stories. From World War II, an old vet that fought in the Battle of the Bulge, to another who flew planes in and out of Berlin Airlift, and another who was involved in nuclear bomb research in the Pacific. From the Korean War, I have seen quite a few men who fought on the front lines. From Vietnam, there are more stories than I can remember, but many who still feel the effects of Agent Orange. More recently, veterans of the Middle East have shared their stories with me. From one soldier who was there when the first shots were fired in Desert Storm, to many more recently who returned home with PTSD and Post-Concussion Syndrome from being near IEDs when they went off.

There are good and bad sides to all these stories. The heroism and self-sacrifice are always inspiring. The medical care they received upon returning is often a different story. The current opioid crisis that the country continues to deal with was born on the backs of many vets who were given opioids as a way to deal with their pain. While there are darker sides to that story, the one I like to focus on is the fact that multiple state programs now recommend chiropractic, acupuncture, and other safe, natural methods that do not destroy lives like opioids have. It has been estimated that 25% of the people currently taking opioids could have been taken care of with no prescription medications at all if they had been given the opportunity to turn to alternative health care choices first.

Fortunately, the VA does cover chiropractic. Unfortunately, it is quite difficult to get that care covered. Our office has spent literally hundreds of hours trying to get included in some of these programs only to have calls and emails unreturned. (If anyone knows how to solve this issue, please contact us. We would love to be able to serve more veterans through these programs.) The red tape and regulations in place make it beyond difficult to obtain coverage. Some VA facilities actually have Doctors of Chiropractic on staff! You are supposed to be able to go to local doctors if the closest VA facility is over 50 miles away. If anyone knows how to help with this, our military patients would be most grateful – and so would I.

If you are a veteran, again, thank you. If you are part of the family left behind, thank you as well. At Burtis Chiropractic Center we offer chiropractic, nutrition, and functional medicine to help you recover and heal – inside and out. As our nation celebrates its independence, we celebrate you! Have a safe and happy Fourth!

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