Neck Pain Experienced By Air Force Pilots

The Chiro.Org Blog

SOURCE:   Military Medicine 2011 (Jan); 176 (1): 106–109

Netto K, Hampson G, Oppermann B, Carstairs G, Aisbett B.

School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences,
Deakin University,
221 Burwood Highway,
Burwood, Victoria 3125, Australia

This article is of particular interest because the Department of Defense was instructed during the Clinton Administration to start providing chiropractic care through the Department of Veterans Affairs to American servicemen, and even after all these years, chiropractic care is only available at 36 VA facilities across the country. This still leaves (at least) 100 major VA medical facilities without a chiropractic physician on staff. [1]

In this study, therapists at the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences in Victoria, Australia designed an 18-question survey to determine type and effectiveness of various strategies used by Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) fast jet aircrew in self-referral and management of flight-related neck pain. [2]

They provided this questionnaire to 86 eligible RAAF aircrew to determine aircrew demographics, the incidence of flight-related neck pain, and their self-referral strategies to manage these neck complaints. The results are quite dramatic:

  • Ninety-five percent of the respondents experienced flight-related neck pain.

  • The most commonly sought treatment modalities were on-base medical and physiotherapy services.

  • Many respondents reported using on-base treatment and ancillary services such as chiropractic care.

  • This same group reported that chiropractic care was the most effective treatment they used for alleviating their neck pain.

Ranking member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.), has again introduced the Chiropractic Care to All Veterans Act (H.R. 329), a bill similar to legislation that was overwhelmingly passed by the entire House in 2010 but was not considered in the Senate. H.R. 329 would require the VA to have a chiropractic physician on staff at all major VA medical facilities by 2014. (as reported on February 4th, 2011).

It would also amend the current statute, the Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care Programs Enhancement Act of 2001, ensuring that chiropractic benefits are included in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations and therefore, cannot be denied. Considering that a 2010 report from the Veterans Health Administration indicated that over 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 – the top complaint of those tracked for the report – it is imperative that Congress stop sandbagging important legislation solely because of political agendas.

If you would like to support our troops, please write to Congress to support H.R. 329.

You can use this easy tool to contact your Congressional Representative.

There’s a lot more information like this at:

The Whiplash Page and the

Chiropractic and Chronic Neck Pain Page


  1. Congress Moves to Expand Chiropractic Services to Veterans and Military Beneficiaries
    Chiro.Org Blog ~ February 4th, 2011

  2. Management of Neck Pain in Royal Australian Air Force Fast Jet Aircrew
    Military Medicine 2011 (Jan); 176 (1): 106–109