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Fighter Pilot Helped with Chiropractic - A Case Study

A documented research study published inside the July 4, 2006 publication of the Australian research journal, Chiropractic & Osteopathy, follows the recovery of a fighter pilot who had been helped getting back in the air with chiropractic care. In this instance a 36-year-old male USMC F/A-18 aviator instructor with fifteen years of flying experience had experienced a serious episode of acute low back pain. He did note a history of low back pain but didn't recall any sort of traumatic incident that initiated this pain episode.

Whenever this problem hit he immediately visited his squadron flight surgeon, who prescribed pain medications and confined him to quarters, thus grounding him from flight. The pain got worse thus landing him inside the hospital the following day where he remained for 24 hours. After his hospital stay he was limited to quarters for 72 hours after which cleared to fly but sent for consultation to neurosurgery and physical therapy. Due to these consultations and examinations the pilot was given anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, acupuncture, osteopathic treatment and exercise. The patient experienced some relief but was still in significant pain. He was finally referred to a chiropractor for evaluation.

At this point the pilot ended up struggling with his pain for 4 months which he identified as an intense spasm in his lower back. He reported his discomfort was consistently worse each morning and that it might take him as much as ten minutes to emerge from bed because of the stiffness and pain. He had to discontinue his regular Marine Corps fitness training, and he reported that it would take as long as 15 minutes to emerge from the jet and climb to the ground after flying. On many occasions he had himself taken off flight duty as a result of pain. By the 5th trip to the chiropractor the patient reported that there was no longer any sharp muscle spasm. He still did experience some stiffness but he could go back to regular flying status and he had discontinued taking any medications. The patient had 15 chiropractic office visits where he received care spanning a 26 week period and continued to demonstrate improvement. The case study notes that at a follow-up visit 1 month after his last chiropractic visit he was pain free and had full function. He was flying multiple training missions per week including high G flights and sorties of several hours in duration and had passed his required physical fitness test the prior week with no pain.

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