Chiropractic Care for Veterans

Veterans’ Right to Chiropractic Treatment

Chiropractic services are part of the standard Medical Benefits Package available to all eligible Veterans. Similar to other specialties, access to VA chiropractic services is by referral from a VA primary care or specialty provider. VA facilities can choose to provide this benefit in two ways:

  1. By having an on-site chiropractic clinic.

  2. By sending veterans to a private doctor of chiropractic through the Choice Program, or other community care mechanisms (Alexandria Natural Health Center)

Currently there are 70 VA facilities with chiropractic clinics. Over the past several years, nearly 40,000 veterans have accessed services provided by doctors of chiropractic at VA clinics, with thousands more receiving treatment through purchased care. Many VA primary care providers are routinely discussing the services provided by DCs as an option with their patients. If your PCP has not discussed this with you, bring it up and explain why you think the services delivered by DCs can be a good option for your particular problem.


The Opioid Epidemic

According to the CDC, from 1999 to 2013 the drug poisoning death rate more than doubled from 6.1 to 13.8 people per 100,000, and the rate for drug poisoning deaths involving opioid drugs nearly quadrupled from 1.4 to 5.1 people per 100,000. This epidemic has had a greater impact on active-duty military personnel and veterans who face elevated risks of opioid misuse and overdose relative to the general population. In 2017, the American College of Physicians (ACP) updated its guidelines for the treatment of acute and chronic low back pain to recommend first using non-invasive, non-drug treatments before resorting to drug therapies. ACP’s guidelines, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and based on a review of randomized controlled trials and observational studies, cite heat therapy, massage, acupuncture and spinal manipulation (a centerpiece of chiropractic care) as possible options for non-invasive, non-drug therapies for low back pain. Only when such treatments provide little or no relief, the guidelines state, should patients move on to medicines such as ibuprofen or muscle relaxants, which research indicates have limited pain-relief effects. According to the guidelines, prescription opioids should be a last resort for those suffering from low back pain, as the risk of addiction and overdose may outweigh the benefits. (Listen to a podcast about this study by clicking the link above.)

Chiropractic and the Opioid Epidemic

If you are considering Chiropractic/Acupuncture care, see if the following reasons apply to you:

  • I have tried it before and it worked for me.

  • I have a friend or relative with similar problems and a Doctor of Chiropractic helped them.

  • I prefer to avoid unnecessary pain medication or surgery for my problem.

Services delivered by doctors of chiropractic such as spinal manipulation are part of current VA/DoD guidelines on treating back pain. Services delivered by doctors of chiropractic are part of your standard VA benefits. Additional treatment/services that can be provided through a certified doctor include Acupuncture, Ultrasound, and Electric stim, all of which are offered at our facility. Dr. Christopher Larson is a licensed Chiropractor and certified to perform Acupuncture treatment in conjunction with the Chiropractic care.

Chiropractic & Veteran Fact Sheet

For more information please contact your local VA clinic and thank you for your service.


Christopher Larson