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Wilmington Chiropractor | Wilmington chiropractic care | NC | Veterans to get access to chiropractic care


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Veterans to get access to chiropractic care

Doctors of chiropractic to provide subluxation correction to VA patients

When veterans go to a VA clinic or hospital, they normally receive excellent health care from medical doctors. However, until recently, they were denied access to chiropractic care from qualified, licensed doctors of chiropractic. A bill signed by President George W. Bush on January 23, 2002, will change all that. Thanks to Public Law 107-135, veterans enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) health system will be able to see a chiropractor for a wide range of neuromusculoskeletal problems. Most importantly, said Terry A. Rondberg, D.C., president of the World Chiropractic Alliance (WCA), they will be able to go to a doctor of chiropractic for correction of vertebral subluxations.

Vertebral subluxations are misalignments in the position of the bones in the spinal column. When the vertebrae are not aligned correctly, nerve flow can be impeded or distorted, making it difficult for the body to function optimally. Scientific studies in the U.S. and other counties have indicated that chiropractic is not only effective for back pain, but may be helpful in improving general health and allow the body's natural defenses to work properly. Researchers in New Zealand are currently studying the effect of vertebral subluxations on the human immune system. "The reason subluxation correction was written into the law," Dr. Rondberg noted, "is that Congress recognizes that subluxations are a serious health problem and that doctors of chiropractic are the only providers specially trained and experienced in this area. We are not medical doctors and we do not provide medical treatment, just as medical doctors are not chiropractors and cannot provide chiropractic care for the subluxation complex."

The law directs the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to designate at least one DVA medical center in each geographic service area that will provide chiropractic services. At these centers, doctors of chiropractic will provide "a variety of chiropractic care and services for neuromusculoskeletal conditions, including subluxation complex." The VHA will also coordinate the distribution of educational materials on chiropractic to primary care teams "for the purpose of familiarizing such providers with the benefits of chiropractic care and services."

During the lengthy legislative process, the American Physical Therapy Association opposed the bill, but a determined lobbying effort by several chiropractic organizations, including the World Chiropractic Alliance, the American Chiropractic Association, and the International Chiropractors Association, overcame their objections. At one point, the specific reference to vertebral subluxation complex (VSC) was deleted, since many legislators felt the term "neuromusculoskeletal conditions" encompassed vertebral subluxations. However, the WCA, publisher of the scientific journal, Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research, argued that VSC is not technically a neuromusculoskeletal condition. "The subluxation has neurological, muscular, and skeletal components," explained Dr. Rondberg. "Yet it is distinct from neuromusculoskeletal conditions such as sprains, strains, radiculopathies, etc. It is a common denominator for increasing the level of worldwide wellness."

The WCA president noted that "some medical doctors and physical therapists prefer the subluxation complex to be lumped together with other 'conditions' so they can claim to be able to treat it. But chiropractors are the only licensed health care providers who receive specific classroom and clinical training in the correction of vertebral subluxations. They will provide a unique service to our veterans, who deserve the right to choose for themselves what type of health care they will receive. This is a victory for chiropractic, but more significantly, it's a victory for our veterans."

The bill signed by President Bush passed in the Senate on Dec. 21, 2001 by unanimous consent, after being approved in the House of Representatives on Dec. 11. A number of Representatives and Senators showed strong support for the bill. The WCA said it was particularly appreciative of the efforts and work of Sen. John Rockefeller, chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee, Rep. Donald Manzullo, who has long been a proponent of freedom of choice in health care, and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.

The World Chiropractic Alliance is an international organization representing doctors of chiropractic and promoting the traditional, drug-free and non-invasive form of chiropractic as a means of correcting vertebral subluxations that cause nerve interference. The WCA is an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information and publisher of the peer-reviewed chiropractic research journal, Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research. For more information, contact the WCA at 800-347-1011 or World Chiropractic Alliance.


Wilmington Chiropractor | Veterans to get access to chiropractic care. Dr. Ashly Smith is a Wilmington Chiropractor.