Eleven years ago, Army Staff Sergeant Shilo Harris’s armored vehicle was struck by an IED. The explosion left him with severe burns on 35 percent of his body which lead to the loss of his ears and the tip of his nose and three fingers. It also left him with a fractured left collarbone and C-7 vertebrae.


After undergoing more than 75 surgeries and a battle with PTSD, Harris became addicted to opioids. But he didn’t realize it until he was on a three-hour trip to visit family, away from his treatment facility in San Antonio, and he ran out of medication. He said, “Within two or three hours of running out of medications, I couldn’t drive back to San Antonio fast enough. That’s how strong the addiction was.”1

Medically retired from the Army in 2010 and weaned off his meds, a traffic accident forced him to return to opioid use and he quickly fell into a depression. Were it not for alternative treatments, he would have been hopeless.


Harris discovered chiropractic and North Canton, Ohio doctor Tim Novelli, who he credits for saving his life and helping him break his habit. “Novelli is the founder and president of the Patriot Project, which describes itself as a ‘grassroots movement to provide chiropractic care to all active military, their families, wounded warriors & all Gold Star dependents.’”2(We are also huge fans of Dr. Novelli as well and so honored to have shared a stage with him at Cal jam in Southern California. )


Because chiropractic helped Harris manage his pain and overcome his addiction, he became the national spokesman for the Patriot Project and now advocates alternatives to opioids for pain management.

If you are in pain, don’t give up hope. You have other options, some of which are:

  • acupuncture
  • massages
  • yoga
  • exercise
  • weight loss
  • and psychotherapy are all alternatives to opioid use

We are so grateful for doctors like Tim Novelli who are willing to take time with their patients, getting to know and really understand what they are going through and what is at the root of the problem, so they can best deal with it. Not just throw meds at it.

Keep up the good work Dr. Novelli!

Sources and References

  1. IndeOnline, March 20, 2018.
  2. IndeOnline, March 20, 2018.