The Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published a case study on September 28, 2018, of a combat veteran suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, (PTSD), who was helped by chiropractic. The National Institutes of Mental Health describe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder by saying “PTSD is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event.”
The study authors begin this report with a startling statistic as to the frequency of overall mental health issues. “Mental Illness is a very relevant topic in health care today. In 2013, approximately 1 in 5 adults over the age of 18 were diagnosed with a mental illness and approximately half of all Americans will experience a mental illness in their lifetime.”
According to this study, the frequency of PTSD is estimated to range between 8%-14% in the general population, with the military population suffering at a higher rate. A study done in 2010 of the Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) military veterans showed prevalence rates of PTSD between 13.3% and 19.8%. Some studies suggest the rates can be as high as 31% of veterans who have served in combat situations. PTSD is the second most common condition in the military, with the most common condition being depression.
The cost of treating PTSD over a protracted period of time will be staggering to the US military. In 2010, a study of US service members in Iraq estimated that the total cost of PTSD treatment per person ranged from $5,900 to $25,800 over a two-year period. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that total lifetime medical costs for veterans over the next 40 years to be between $300 and $600 billion dollars for all types of medical conditions. With PTSD being a large portion of that total expense, and with veterans suffering from PTSD averaging medical bills that are 60% higher than the norm, it is clear that this condition has a large financial impact.
In this case, a 35-year-old veteran sought chiropractic care for symptoms related to his PTSD attributed to his military deployment. One of the issues he listed was an “over stimulated nervous system.” He further described his condition by describing it as an “…intense, never-ending anxiety which has bled into all areas of [his] life – mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, and into relationships with others.” His symptoms began in 2004, 11 years prior to seeking chiropractic care.
After an examination, specific chiropractic care was started. Within two weeks of the start of the care, the man had several comments which included that he felt “less tension in his muscles at rest,” as well as a “small increase in overall well-being.” He noted that he was “much more relaxed at rest” and was able to “tolerate watching his kids.” After about a month of care, his comments included that he was experiencing “improved digestion,” he also felt that he was “more resilient overall” and was now able to “take a full breath.”
When asked to evaluate his mental/emotional state, he stated that there was improvement in many areas compared to before starting his chiropractic care. He now noted that he “rarely” experienced the presence of negative feelings about himself, moodiness, angry outbursts, depression, lack of interest, restlessness, difficulty sitting still, or the experience of recurring thoughts or dreams.