Male Military Patient Student West Campus

Aaron Van Brunt

Inspired by the military service of his two older brothers, West campus student Aaron Van Brunt joined the U.S. Navy in Jan. 2001, and was deployed that same year aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt in support of “Operation Enduring Freedom”, and in 2003, in support of “Operation Iraqi Freedom”.

Chronic Back Pain in Military Personnel

After Aaron concluded his five years of military service in 2006, he enrolled in the VA health care system and witnessed many fellow servicemen and women returning from deployment tours with chronic back pain. The prescribed medications provided only temporary relief from the symptoms – and addiction was often an unfortunate consequence.

Determined to help fellow veterans discover an effective means by which to address the root cause of the pain (and not just medicate the symptoms), Aaron got involved with Holistic Veterans, a non-profit organization based in his hometown of Santa Cruz, Calif., whose mission is to teach disabled veterans how to live healthier lives.

Fate Intervened

During the process of exploring career options following his military service, Aaron suffered a low-back injury and saw a chiropractor for the first time. The life-changing results extended well beyond the pain-relieving results of his positive patient experience.

“I saw chiropractic as the perfect way to make a living, love my job, help people live healthier and happier lives, and to give back to veterans,” said Aaron, who subsequently completed the balance of his chiropractic prerequisites at Cabrillo College in Aptos, entered the program at Palmer’s West campus in 2013 (with a portion of his tuition covered by the U.S. military’s “Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program”), and is now set to graduate next March.

Chiropractic and Veterans

“I look at guys like my brother, Jason (who has completed eight deployments to Afghanistan, and is due to deploy to El Salvador at the end of November) who have given so much for this country, and I see chiropractic as a great platform to give back to these men and women,” said Aaron, who has served as president of the West campus Veterans Club, and earlier this year coordinated the club’s participation in the Ironoar Challenge, an indoor rowing event, which helped raise more than $600 in support of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

Giving Back Through Chiropractic

“Once I graduate, I plan on devoting a part of my practice to volunteering my services to the military community,” said Aaron, who recommends yoga for many of the veterans he cares for in the Palmer clinic, and is involved with the Santa Cruz Crossfit community, which draws many veterans, not only for the physical benefits of exercise, but also for the camaraderie, encouragement, and the sense of being part of a “team” that many Crossfit gyms exemplify.

“I know that chiropractic care works, and I know it can help disabled vets get out of pain without introducing medications that can have serious side effects. I know there are some conditions for which medication is absolutely necessary – but, why not try chiropractic first?”

For more information about a career in chiropractic, visit

To request and appointment with one of our clinics, go to, or if you are outside our clinic regions of Davenport, Iowa, Port Orange, Fla. or San Jose, Calif. you can search our database to find a Palmer chiropractor in your area.

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