The Expansion of Chiropractic Services to Veterans

As we continue our series on 125 years of chiropractic, this month’s post we explore 2010–2020 and the expansion of chiropractic services to veterans under legislation developed by the House of Representatives. 

Access to Chiropractic Care for Military Members

In 2011, the American Chiropractic Association and Association of Chiropractic Colleges supported new legislation (H.R. 409) that expanded chiropractic services to those who use the military’s healthcare system, TRICARE.1 According to Chiropractic Economics, “The Chiropractic Health Parity for Military Beneficiaries Act would require the Secretary of Defense to develop a plan to allow any beneficiary covered under TRICARE to select and have direct access to a chiropractic physician.1

Prior to this legislation, chiropractic services were only available to active duty military members, not veterans. In February 2010, a report was released by the Veterans Health Administration that indicated “about half of all veterans returning from the Middle East and Southwest Asia who have sought VA health care were treated for symptoms associated with musculoskeletal ailments.”2

Today, it is widely acknowledged that veterans may develop musculoskeletal conditions while serving our country, and this legislation proved to be a monumental turning point in ensuring treatment options for active duty and veterans. 

What Are Chiropractic Services?

According to Chiropractic Economics, “H.R. 409 defines ‘chiropractic services’ as diagnosis (including X-ray and tests), evaluation and management, and therapeutic services for the treatment of neuromusculoskeletal health conditions.”1

The Status of Chiropractic Services Today

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is committed to providing veterans with the chiropractic care they need to find relief for their musculoskeletal conditions. As of 2020, chiropractic services are available to eligible veterans as part of their standard benefits package. 

As noted by the VA, “Similar to other specialties, access to VA chiropractic services is by referral from a VA primary care or specialty provider. VA provides these services on-site at one or more VA facilities in each Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN).”3

Looking Ahead

This blog post marks the end of our series on 125 years of chiropractic. We enjoyed sharing chiropractic milestones with you from 1895, when chiropractic was founded, to 2020. If you have yet to catch up on every decade we covered this year, click here!


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References 

1Chiropractic Economics. “American Chiropractic Association, ACA, Veterans, Military, Association of Chiropractic Colleges, ACC, U.S. House of Representatives, Department of Veterans Affairs, VA, Department of Defense, Chiropractic Care to All Veterans Act.” Chiropractic Economics, 2 Feb. 2011, www.chiroeco.com/congress-moves-to-expand-chiropractic-to-veterans-military-beneficiaries/. 

2Chiropractic Economics. “American Chiropractic Association, ACA, Association of Chiropractic Colleges, ACC, Department of Veterans Affairs, VA, Healthcare, Military, Legislation, U.S. Senate.” Chiropractic Economics, 10 June 2011, www.chiroeco.com/senate-bill-to-expand-veterans-access-to-chiropractic-care-introduced/. 

3“VA.gov: Veterans Affairs.” Chiropractic Service, 7 May 2014, www.rehab.va.gov/chiro/.

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