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Ten years ago, the U.S. Department of Defense was asked to study whether chiropractic care could benefit troops with lower back pain. The results are in – it does. Unfortunately, chiropractic care isn’t currently offered at all military health facilities, and chiropractic falls into an alternative therapy category that isn’t currently covered by military insurance for military family members, or retirees and their families.


The three trials were conducted over the last decade at military health facilities. Rand Corp., Palmer College of Chiropractic, and the Samueli Institute participated in the $7.5 million study, which was designed to determine if chiropractic care can relieve low back pain in troops, help them stop smoking, and increase readiness for service.

The first trial showed that service members who received chiropractic care in addition to regular medical care saw statistically significant improvement. Trial two, which tested for increased reaction and response times on special operations troops following chiropractic care, revealed the a single session had an immediate impact. After this initial effect, response time wasn’t significantly accelerated.

The third trial showed a 5% increase in isometric strength for the chiropractic group, compared to a 6% decrease in strength in the control group, which was comprised of service members with lower back pain and no chiropractic care. Endurance also increased 14% for the chiropractic group, and decreased 10% in the control group. However, the trials didn’t show a demonstrative improvement for quitting smoking.

From the report:

“Based on the results, the investigators concluded that chiropractic care improves key fitness characteristics among active-duty service members with lower back pain and could lead to improved military readiness in such individuals.”


The trial results underscore what many people already know about chiropractic. Yet despite this evidence, chiropractic care is available in just 65 of the Department of Defense’s 54 military hospitals and 377 clinics. That means chiropractic care has been proven effective, yet remains inaccessible for many of our country’s service members and veterans. Lawmakers routinely offer legislation that would require the Department to outline a plan for making chiropractic services widely available, but the bills don’t seem to go anywhere.

In Reno, Dr. Lynelle McSweeney offers holistic chiropractic care for everyone. And for our military members and veterans, she’s pleased to offer a special discount. If you’re struggling with low back pain or other chronic pain, schedule your visit today.