Spinal Task Force
In September 2013 Dr. Jackson was invited to attend an Expert Panel on the Development of a Spinal Pathway for the Department of National Defense as a representative of the Canadian Chiropractic Association (CCA), this is his brief report!
It is well known that musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries are responsible for a remarkable burden of cost and lost work and a significant number of members prematurely leaving the Canadian Forces (CF). It is also clear from much of the research that the treatment of MSK injuries is best done on an ad hoc basis. In other words, 85% of the time a specific diagnosis is not going to be made. Xrays and MRIs don’t really help clarify where the origin of the pain is, and they are expensive. The most recent research shows that most of back and neck pain is of a “non-specific ” origin. It is cumulative (adds up over time) and episodic (tends to come and go). Our job was to define the path medics, nurses, doctors and specialists would follow in managing MSK injuries for soldiers. The team included physicians of various types (GP, Orthopaedists, Psychiatrist, Occupational, Policy Advisors), Pharmacist, Physiotherapist, Kinesiologist, Occupational Nurse and me, a Chiropractor. Gratefully, one of the physicians was also a chiropractor, and he was a huge help in understanding the culture and structure of the CF.
Over the course of the week we worked out the flowchart the would become the backbone of this pathway. One large barrier we, as chiropractors, have is that there are no Chiropractors in uniform. While our profession is recognized around the world (and the working table) as being experts in the assessment and treatment of MSK injuries, it was difficult to include DC care early in the pathway designed that week. For that reason, the CCA proposed a research program to be implemented at 5 bases across the country to show the benefit of the integration of DC care in the management of MSK injuries. The program would run for 3 years. This is a similar scenario to a trial in the US military that lead to inclusion of Chiropractors on 51 bases across the globe. The proposal was well received by the Deputy Surgeon-General Col. McKay and the CCA is starting the process of making the submission to the CF.
It is our expectation that in three years time we will have good scientific evidence that providing integrated care for soldiers not only helps keep them healthier but also costs less.