We are humbled each and every day at Georgia Clinic of Chiropractic (Augusta, GA) to treat our heroes—those who currently serve in the military and those retired. With men and women who selflessly serve with their lives every day, we need to remember their sacrifices and what we can do to honor and give back to these heroes. One particular individual is standing strong in making sure they are getting the best healthcare possible. Retired Brigadier General, Rebecca S. Halstead, speaks with authority as both a retired member of the U.S. Army and a patient of chiropractic when she states, “The Military is our best resource. They deserve the best health care; and chiropractic is the best care.” Currently an active proponent for the advancement of chiropractic both in general public awareness and specifically the benefits of its availability to those in the military, this influential and inspiring leader knows a thing or two about overcoming challenges—and the benefits of chiropractic.
She rose through the ranks to become the first female graduate of West Point promoted to General Officer and the first woman in U.S. history to command combat at the strategic level in the Combat Theater of Iraq. She has repelled out of helicopters, body bumped and bruised; and led troops through the toughest terrains. She has earned a well-decorated uniform, exampling excellence in action. Her military decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal; the Defense Superior Service Medal; two awards of the Legion of Merit; the Bronze Star Medal; five awards of the Meritorious Service Medal; two awards of the Army Commendation Medal; and the Army Achievement Medal. She also earned the Air Assault Badge and the Army Staff Identification Badge. And, for a good portion of this time, she has carried a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia—a set of symptoms that include widespread muscle and joint pain, fatigue, and other debilitating factors.
It wasn’t until she retired in 2008, when she was enlisted into the care of a chiropractor that she began to experience the full advantages of regular chiropractic care. General Halstead has willingly used this familiarity with the personal benefits of chiropractic, her name of notoriety, and her position of prominence to advocate for millions of military personnel and their families to receive the improved health and wellness of regular chiropractic care. TRICARE, the health program for military personnel and retirees, evaluated patients’ response to chiropractic care. The enormously high patient satisfaction rates astounded the TRICARE administrators, with scores that ranged from 94.3 percent in the Army. The Air Force tally was also high, with 12 of 19 bases scoring 100 percent; and the Navy also reported ratings in the 90 percent or higher. Even the TRICARE outpatient satisfaction surveys (TROSS) rated chiropractors at 88.54, which was 10 percent “higher than the overall satisfaction with all [health care] providers.”
Halstead said she tried to keep her diagnosis quiet because she believed she could press through. Over time, that changed. “I thought that if I pushed myself hard enough and tried hard enough, I could continue to serve in the military with this disease, but I recognized that I could not and I had to do something different,” she said, adding she chose to retire rather than be discharged medically. “I wanted to walk out the door on my own two feet with my head up high knowing I had given it everything I had.” Now that she is under regular chiropractic care for her fibromyalgia, she says she’s off the more than dozen prescriptions she was taking and feels better than ever. She goes on to say that “If I had had more access to sustained chiropractic care [when I was in active duty], I would probably still be in the military.”
The Georgia Clinic of Chiropractic Blog is written by Dr. Mark Huntsman.