News: Chiropractors Cracking for Patient Comfort
Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Chelsea Blom
SAN DIEGO - Chiropractic services at Branch Health Clinic Naval Base Coronado, Branch Health Clinic Naval Base San Diego, and Branch Medical Clinic Miramar have been helping patients with their muscle and joint pain for seven years.
The chiropractic services at the Branch Health Clinics started in 2003, and treat approximately 300 patients per week, generating about 55 to 60 appointments per day at the three health clinics in the San Diego area, with one chiropractor per clinic.
All active duty service members are eligible for chiropractic care. Patients may receive referrals from their primary care doctor for the chiropractor. The chiropractic services fall under the physical therapy department. Patients are primarily seen by the chiropractor for back and neck pain.
“Many muscle and joint imbalances are due to a prior injury resulting in stiffness in joints or muscles,” said Cmdr. Michael D. Rosenthal, Department Head of Physical and Occupational Therapy at Naval Medical Center San Diego. “Our bodies do a very good job of compensating for those things so unless someone really works hard to get back to their pre-injury condition, patients will often times develop muscle or joint imbalance with tightness, weakness and/or stiffness.”
The chiropractor first reviews the patient’s medical history, then assesses the patient to discern the cause of the pain, and may refer the patient to radiology for X-rays if needed. Once the problem is identified, the chiropractor will manipulate the areas of pain to adjust the joints and muscles. The chiropractor will give the patient stabilizing exercises to do at home with the goal of teaching the patients how to maintain a pain-free lifestyle. The chiropractor treats patients in the hope of avoiding surgery if at all possible.
“Chiropractic care in the military primarily focuses on spinal problems,” said Rosenthal. “The focus is on restoring mobility to those areas and instructing patients on the correct type of exercises to make sure they maintain that mobility and correct posture.”
NMCSD and clinic providers hope to help patients find a solution and prevent enduring years of pain.
“Military personnel are active people, and chiropractic care is quite good for both treatment and prevention of injuries sustained during athletic events,” said Lt. Col. Thomas E. Kerley, executive officer of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. Service members conduct jobs every day that require their full mental capacity, such as flying, operating heavy equipment, or working on a busy flight deck. Chiropractors are able to treat these service members using methods that do not involve prescribing medications, said Kerley.
The four facilities that offer chiropractic care include: BHC NBC, BHC Naval Base San Diego, BMC Miramar, and NMCSD.
For more information on chiropractic services, please visit www.navy.mil/local/sd or call the Physical Therapy Department at (619) 532-7100.