By Sherkiya Wedgeworth

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Military seeking drug-free pain management

Several federal agencies are partnering to find better ways to treat veterans' and servicemembers' pain that does not involve drugs.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs have announced a $81 million, six- year multi-component research project that will focus on non-drug approaches for pain management.

There are 12 research projects underway that focus on developing, implementing, and testing cost-effective, large-scale, real-world research on non-drug approaches for pain management.

“These projects will provide important information about the feasibility, acceptability, safety, and effectiveness of nondrug approaches in treating pain,” a National Institutes of Health news release states.

The studies are looking at treatments such as mindfulness/meditative interventions; structured exercise, such as tai chi and yoga; manual therapies including, spinal manipulation, massage, and acupuncture; psychological and behavioral interventions, integrative, and integrated models of multi-modal care.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, part of NIH, is contributing more than half of the total funding.

“NCCIH has made pain research a priority — especially in military and veteran populations. We first partnered with the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the VA in 2014 and are delighted to expand the partnership to include the DOD and additional HHS/NIH components,” Josephine Briggs, director of NCCIH, said in the release.

Studies show that nearly 45 percent of servicemembers and 50 percent of veterans experience pain on a regular basis, and there is significant overlap among chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, and persistent post-concussive symptoms.

The initiative comes at a time when the federal government is aiming to reduce the amount of opioids prescribed to federal employees in an attempt to reduce the risk of substance abuse.

Posted by Sherkiya Wedgeworth on Sep 28, 2017 at 9:06 AM

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