By Larry Moliterno
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – In honoring our veterans, it’s important to recognize the physical and emotional aftereffects of their service. There are many programs that support veterans when they return home, but some additional supports should be recognized.
Recently, the importance of therapy and counseling for veterans has become increasingly popular but services shouldn’t end there. Both chiropractic care and acupuncture are medication-free treatments that address chronic pain, neck pain, back pain and migraine headaches.
Chiropractic treatment helps veterans with neuromusculoskeletal conditions involving the spine and extremities while acupuncture helps with pain management, osteoarthritis of the hip and knee, nausea from chemotherapy and post-surgical pain. Acupuncture even helps with anxiety, depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) thanks to its relaxation properties.
It’s common for veterans to return from service struggling with chronic pain, potentially causing them to turn to medications for relief. While this often includes over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, veterans may turn to stronger painkillers and even opioids, depending on the severity of the pain. Pain relief from chiropractic care and acupuncture decreases reliance on medication to control chronic pain.
As mentioned before, mental health help is extremely important for veterans returning from service. TMS (trans magnetic stimulation) is an electroencephalogram (EEG)-guided process that determines a protocol specifically designed for each individual patient based on his brain waves. Veterans meet with a provider and neuro echnician for 20 to 30 treatments over a four- to six-week protocol. The Veterans Administration recognizes TMS as an alternative treatment for PTSD and depression.
There have been some wonderful TMS success stories. One Army veteran had such severe anxiety that he was unable to drive. Within weeks of treatment, he could drive himself to appointments without having to pull over from a panic attack.
In another instance, a Marine veteran was isolating himself from everyone, including friends and family. His anxiety was to the point that he could hardly leave his house. After treatment, he was able to reunite with his family and friends again.
Of course, chiropractic care, acupuncture and TMS aren’t going to be the answer for every veteran but they are available tools to strongly consider. Mental health counseling is always an important addition to treating emotional and physical pain after serving as well.
I recently had the privilege of talking to a veteran about his service. He went on to say how most people can’t fully grasp what the experience was like. When his family asks for ways to understand, he explains, “I appreciate that, but I don’t want you to understand. I don’t want you to see why we think this way. I want to protect you from having to understand the things that I went through. You shouldn’t have to know these things.”
He went on to explain that veterans have a different perspective on society and life. “To have done some of the things that we’ve done, both positive and negative, changes our perspective on life,” he said. “We realize that life is precious, quality of life is precious, and we must adapt to survive – not just in combat, but in our lives. We all want the same thing: to be happy.”
Thank you, veterans, for all you have done to protect our nation, our families and our way of life. Please contact your county veterans service commission to find out what resources are available to you as a veteran, including assistance with claims/benefits administered by the VA.
Larry Moliterno is CEO of Meridian Healthcare.