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Chiropractors Respond to Crisis

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina came ashore on the US Gulf Coast and left a path of death, devastation and destruction that is unprecedented in recent US history. Government emergency services and many other relief workers have begun the long job of rescue relief and restoration. People from all over the United States and the world have offered help and have shown overwhelming generosity toward those areas and people affected by the devastation.

In response to this tragedy, many chiropractors have begun setting up facilities to help those who were displaced by this event, as well as those who will be involved in the massive aftermath and cleanup. This scene is strikingly similar to post 9-11 efforts, when the chiropractic profession responded by setting up free clinics at the Pentagon and Ground Zero to offer care to those workers who were involved with the massive cleanup.

The picture shown here documents the efforts of one newly set up facility at one of the large centers housing displaced citizens outside of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This is only the beginning of what will be an ongoing and growing chiropractic relief effort at this center, and many more to come. At this one center alone, nine Doctors of Chiropractic have initially volunteered their time to help those affected by the storm.

Dr. Butch Sonnier, was one of a group of chiropractors who set up mobile chiropractic aid stations in and around New Orleans. He reported, "We loaded up and then traveled into the city of New Orleans where we set up shop at several staging areas for different law enforcement groups that were working the area and adjusted several hundred more. Once we were past the checkpoints and in the area, it looked like scenes from a Hollywood disaster film. By the time we were out of the New Orleans area, we estimated that we gave approximately 1000 adjustments to refugees, guardsmen and law enforcement people in one and one half days. The docs from Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana really represented our profession with passion, love and devotion. In the short 2 days we were there, no one asked for our credentials, malpractice papers or gave us a hard time. We were welcomed with open arms and thanked profusely for our efforts. Out of the 1000 or so adjustments given, we estimated that approximately 80% were first time adjustments! Once again, thanks for the prayers and well wishes."

Chiropractic's great benefit at these facilities is to help those who were either displaced or who are involved in the massive cleanup. "Those affected by this crisis are under extreme physical and emotional stress," said Dr. John Maltby, President of the International Chiropractors Association, (ICA). "Chiropractic care helps these people function as best they can under these extreme circumstances." He continued, "We (the ICA and local chiropractic groups) are working to expand the number and outreach of these chiropractic aid facilities throughout the stricken areas."