Battle gear. The majority of active-duty military troops wear heavy body armor for at least four hours each day (and often longer). Though necessary to prevent life-threatening injuries, this equipment takes a toll on the spine and specifically the lower back. Military officials regularly report disability, lost worker productivity and increased health care costs among active-duty members.
Military helmets. Ballistic helmets add an additional two or three pounds to the weight of your head. Wearing these helmets is part of a military member’s necessary equipment in the field, but it can take a serious toll on the cervical spine, as well as the ligaments, tendons and muscles that support your neck.
The demands of military service. Many active-duty military members work long hours that are also physically demanding. Combat training exercises, providing humanitarian aid to those in need and fighting in battle are just some of the scenarios these brave men and women face. All of these activities can take a toll on the musculoskeletal system, increasing the risk of back pain, joint pain, sciatica, sleep difficulties and more.
Whether you’re an active military member or a Veteran who’s now retired, it’s important to listen to (and take care of) your body. If you regularly experience back or neck pain, and it interferes with your quality of life, it’s important to seek professional help. That’s especially true if conservative at-home treatments like ice, rest and over-the-counter pain medicine don’t provide relief.
One type of treatment you may not have considered is chiropractic care. Believe it or not, one-third of Navy and Marine Corps personnel report using at least one form of non-pharmacological care, such as herbal remedies, yoga, acupuncture, and of course, chiropractic. Chiropractic care takes an integrative, drug-free approach to pain management. Instead of trying to mask symptoms, it tries to pinpoint the underlying cause of your discomfort.
Following a comprehensive exam and a review of your medical history, your doctor of chiropractic can make recommendations to ease pain and improve your quality of life. Often, that includes a combination of healthy lifestyle changes, like maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking and exercising regularly. You might also benefit from regular chiropractic adjustments, traction therapy or other types of alternative care.