Posted on: 13 January 2017Share
Many veterans leave the military either without filing claims for their physical problems or not knowing they have a problem in the first place. The wear and tear from military service isn't as easy to observe as sudden, violent injuries from workplace accidents or combat, but if it all leads to being unable to work without forking over cash for pain medication, it's still worth getting help. Here are a few ways that Veterans Affairs (VA) offices and chiropractic professionals can help veterans manage their pain without paying out of pocket for their service.
What Can the VA Do?
Veterans Affairs clinics and hospitals have changed a lot in the past decade, especially with the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014. This act enabled all veterans with an other-than-dishonorable discharge to use the VA clinics and hospitals as needed at a basic level, meaning that they would received general practice doctor's office quality care and emergency room care.
Specialized care is reserved for disabled veterans, but it's not uncommon for a veteran without a disability rating to have a dire need to see a specialist. For veterans suffering any kind of pain--military related or not--you can at least count on the VA for a basic consultation, introductory physical therapy instructions, and medication.
It's relatively easy to get pain medication from VA facilities, and if that worries you because of a medication addiction problem, the VA has you covered there as well. It's understandable that some people are more susceptible than others, and you can volunteer for prescription use with monitoring and addiction support without going through any kind of special regulations or difficult interviews. Ask for help first and there's no problem.
There have been recent restrictions to how the medication is distributed, but this mostly affects continued refills more than the initial prescription. If you need the medication, you'll need to visit after a shorter number of refills compared to the 2015 change, but it's still money that doesn't need to be paid at a private doctor or to an insurance company.
How Does a Chiropractor Fit In?
Medication does not solve everything. While you're trying to work or live your life, pain medication can help you take the edge off so you can at least function and focus on the bigger goal: getting better.
A chiropractor can examine your condition to find a possible root cause and work towards pain management. That management could mean continued physical therapy to remedy a pinched nerve or cramp, or it could mean a referral to another specialist for techniques such as injections, surgery or other non-physical therapy treatments.
Chiropractor assistance goes even further if you're trying to get monetary compensation and medical support through the VA disability program. You'll need to prove that you have a pain problem that is affecting your life and that it's connected to military service, and a chiropractor can get at least half of that puzzle completed.
It's hard to prove pain. The VA can perform scans such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or X-Ray readings, but if there's something that can be recognized by a specialist chiropractor, the VA doesn't always have staff on hand.
Contact a chiropractor, discuss your situation, and get the evidence you need. If your disability claim is successful or you're already on disability, you can get the chiropractor that helped you as a referral covered by the VA.