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Since the late 19th century, chiropractors have been performing manipulations on American military personnel in order to help keep them in fighting form. In 1992, President George H. W. Bush authorized the Department of Defense to commission chiropractors and in 1999 the Chiropractic Health Care Demonstration Program found that chiropractic care would offer significant benefits to the military. Specifically, the results showed that:
- Chiropractic care demonstrated higher levels of patient satisfaction than traditional medical care
- There were superior outcomes for patients who received chiropractic care than those who received traditional medical care
- Chiropractic care resulted in fewer hospital stays
- Significant improvements in military "readiness" were found due to significantly less duty time lost for those who received chiropractic care as opposed to traditional medical care
Although the nature and quality of chiropractic care has evolved and improved considerably since the days in which it was first used in the military, as yet, there are still no commissioned chiropractors in the US Military, despite the above-mentioned governmental authorizations.
Musculoskeletal problems are the most common type of medical issues showing up at VA hospitals, and it’s not surprising. Military gear is heavy, sometimes weighing up to 60 pounds, 8 to 12 pounds of which is weighing down on your neck in the form of a helmet. And that is before you figure in the weight of a rucksack filled with ammunition, batteries and weapons that must all be carried by the soldier on a daily basis.
Retired Brigadier General Rebecca Halstead, now a spokesperson for the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress, has first-hand experience of the benefits of chiropractic care for those in the military. After being diagnosed in 2004 with fibromyalgia (a chronic disease that makes muscles and joints feel stiff and painful, causes fatigue and other symptoms), she was prescribed 17 different medications to treat her pain and sleeplessness over a five-year period, none of which were effective. On the advice of her father, she visited a chiropractor, which as she said “gave me my quality of life back.” She is now free from medication and continues to receive regular chiropractic care.
Though chiropractic is technically available to military personnel, actual access to that care is often difficult. First of all, Tricare, which covers all medical care for the military, requires that treatment only be received at a designated military treatment facility after a referral from the service member’s primary care physician; Tricare will not cover any chiropractic care outside these facilities. Chiropractic care is available at only 40 of the approximately 160 VA treatment facilities throughout the US. And despite having a contracted or hired chiropractor at 60 military bases around the country, only 54 percent of eligible service members have access to chiropractic care, according to a 2005 report from the Government Accountability Office. The waiting list to see one at a VA hospital can range anywhere from 90 to 120 days.
The way to solve this problem, according to Halstead, is to have Congress approve all chiropractic coverage with Tricare. She says, “If we can get Tricare to cover it, then tomorrow the benefit would be there for all of our soldiers, no matter how many treatment facilities it would be in. Because if it’s not in the treatment facility, then I’ve got enough chiropractors in the local community that I can go get the help. I personally think that’s the fastest way to bring visibility to how wonderful this service is, because then more soldiers would be going to chiropractors. More soldiers, then, would not be on sick call. More soldiers would be doing their mission every day.”
The wrist is the name usually given to the eight carpal bones (the lunate, scaphoid, triquetrum, pisiform, trapezium, capitate, hamate and trapezoid carpals) that form the part of the hand closest to the forearm, and the joints that they form with each other and the bones of the forearm and hand. The radiocarpal joint connects the hand to the forearm and involves the distal end (furthest from the body) of the radius, the articular disc and eight bones of the wrist itself. The scaphoid, lunate, pisiform and triquetrum carpals articulate (connect) directly with the radius, whereas the other carpal bones are slightly more distal to (further from) the wrist joint. The proximal (closest to the body) parts of the five metacarpals are often included as anatomical components of the wrist.
As we all know from experience, a wide range of movement is possible at the wrist, and the radiocarpal joint allows for flexion (bending) extension (straightening), some hyperextension (bending back) abduction (movement away from the body) adduction (movement towards the body) and circumduction (circular movement of the hand from the wrist).
Although the ulna is larger than the radius, it tapers towards the wrist and becomes narrower. Here, at the end of the forearm, the head of the radius connects with the radial notch of the ulna to form the radioulnar joint. This is separated from the radiocarpal joint by the articular disc and allows for supination and pronation movements of the hand (rotating the palm of the hand to face-up and face-down positions respectively). Both the radiocarpal and radioulnar joints are synovial joints, the radiocarpal being a condyloid (or ellipsoid) joint whereas the radioulnar is a pivot joint.
The midcarpal joint occurs between the carpals most proximal to the wrist and those more distal. Between the carpal bones in each row (proximal or distal) are a series of intercarpal joints. These are a combination of synovial planar (sliding) and saddle joints, which allow a degree of movement in the lower hand, including flexion (bending toward the palm) and extension (straightening toward the back of the hand).
Each bone of the wrist is connected to its neighbors by one or more ligaments. Since there are a total of fifteen bones comprising the various wrist joints (the radius, ulna, eight carpals and five metacarpals), this gives rise to a complex arrangement of wrist ligaments. Two of the largest of these are the medial (ulnar) collateral ligament and lateral (radial) collateral ligament. The lateral collateral ligament connects the radius across the wrist to the scaphoid carpal, and the medial collateral ligament attaches the end of ulna to the triquetrum and pisiform carpals.
Anatomy of the Sacroiliac Joint
The sacroiliac joint is a planar (sliding) synovial joint in the bony pelvis, formed by the meeting of the sacrum (at the base of the spine) and upper part of the hip (ilium). Two such joints are found in the human body on either side of the sacrum and they move as a unit, such that movement on one side will produce movement on the other side. The bones connect at their respective auricular surfaces on the outside of the sacrum and inside of the ilium, with a raised area of bone known as the sacral tzygoteuberosity that is connected to the hip bones. The alignment of bones against each other provides support for the joint, and this is greatly enhanced by the presence of several especially strong ligaments.
Although allowing for some degree of tilting movement (between approximately 2 and 18 degrees), the primary role of the sacroiliac joint is to support the weight of the spinal column and upper torso and act as a spinal shock absorber. Anything other than anterior to posterior (back and forth) movement is prohibited by the presence of strong ligaments between the sacrum and ilium, but sacral flexion (bending) and extension (straightening) is possible. The sacrum and ilium may also tilt in opposing directions, as occurs during walking.
The space between the sacrum and ilium tends to become smaller with age, restricting what motion there is, with the bones even occasionally fusing together. Joint flexibility is, however, enhanced in pregnancy as a result of elevated levels of the hormone relaxin, which loosens the ligaments of the pelvis in preparation for childbirth.
The auricular (‘ear shaped’) surfaces of the sacrum and ilium are rough and lined with cartilage. The sacral auricular surface supports hyaline cartilage, whereas fibrocartilage lines the iliac auricular surface. Only the lower half of the joint has a synovial cavity, with the upper half being held in place by the interosseous ligaments and the thick posterior and thinner anterior sacroiliac ligaments. The interosseous ligaments are very strong, and the bone will often fracture before these will tear. Thick posterior and thinner anterior sacroiliac ligaments also support the sacroiliac joint, and the sacrospinous and sacrotuberous ligaments further connect the sacrum to the hip bone. The entire joint is contained and supported by a fibrous articular capsule.
Cervical facet syndrome (CFS) is a form of osteoarthritis characterized by a structural deterioration of the vertebrae and joints of the neck. These vertebrae are connected to the spine and supported by a fluid-encapsulated, cartilage-coated hinge mechanism called a facet joint; this joint both stabilizes the spine and allows free movement of the neck and head. Like other joints, it experiences constant, repetitive motion, and can become worn or torn.
As the result of aging (and sometimes the result of trauma or injury such as whiplash), the cartilage that surrounds the facet joint can become worn, causing bone-to-bone contact. The facet joint then becomes inflamed, and may cause pain, stiffness, or soreness, both at the location of the joint and in other areas of the body. This area of the cervical spine is home to a number of pain generators, including the facet joint itself, the intervertebral discs, and the ligaments and muscles that support them. CFS can thus result in a range of symptoms including pain or tenderness near the joint itself, limited mobility of the neck and head, a chronically sore or stiff neck, and other symptoms that radiate to the shoulders, arms, upper back and upper legs. Some patients report pain that seems to originate in the back of the head, but which then radiates over the top of the head, sometimes extending into the region of the eyes and ears.
The pain of cervical facet syndrome is most commonly described as a dull, deep ache, which is often experienced as being worse in the mornings, because the inflammation and stiffness increases while they are asleep. As they begin to move around the pain may subside, but if their work or lifestyle requires them to sit at a desk all day, that may cause the pain to recur. Many patients report that the pain increases when they turn their heads, such as when they are trying to look behind them. The inflammation caused by CFS can also manifest as muscle spasms.
The majority of medical practitioners recommend initially treating cervical facet syndrome as conservatively and non-invasively as possible. Heat or ice packs and anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can help. Chiropractic manipulation may be able to relieve many of the structural causes of CFS, and is often combined with deep tissue massage, electro-stimulation, and stretching exercises to relax affected muscles in the area, stimulating healing blood flow to the region, and increasing mobility. Recommendations for diet or lifestyle changes (including posture correction) can also help to promote faster healing and prevent recurrence of the syndrome and its distress.
Join the millions of people who have not only found relief from back, neck and headache pain through chiropractic, but also experienced improved overall health with chiropractic's natural, drug-free approach to health care.
Why Choose It?
Chiropractic is the method of natural healing most chosen by those seeking complementary and alternative health care for acute and chronic conditions.
While you may first visit a chiropractor to relieve pain in the lower back or to treat sciatica, neck pain, whiplash or headache, you will find that a Dr. Romo views you as a whole person and not the sum of your parts. Dr. Romo will work in partnership with you to ensure your optimal health and wellness.
Triggers your body's ability to heal
Dr. Romo recognize that many factors affect your health, including exercise, nutrition, sleep, environment and heredity. Chiropractic focuses on maintaining your health naturally to help your body resist disease, rather than simply treating the symptoms of disease.
Starts with a thorough evaluation
When you visit a Romo Chiropractic, you will be evaluated using time-honored methods, including consultation, case history, physical examination, laboratory analysis and X-ray examination. In addition, you will receive a careful chiropractic structural examination, with particular attention paid to the spine.
Involves no drugs or surgery
A broad range of techniques are used to locate, analyze and gently correct vertebral misalignments (subluxations) in the spine. Chiropractors may use manual adjustment, electrical muscular stimulation, ultrasound or massage. But they never use pharmaceutical drugs or invasive surgery. Chiropractic is a natural method of healing that stimulates the body's communication system to work more effectively to initiate, control and coordinate the various functions of the cells, organs and systems of the body.
Partners with other healthcare professionals
Doctors of chiropractic work in tandem with other healthcare professionals. If your condition requires attention from another branch of the healthcare profession, that recommendation or referral will be made.