According to a National Institutes of Health study, nearly two-thirds of veterans in the United States suffer from back pain. Nearly 10 percent of veterans report having severe back pain. For veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, back and joint pain are the most common reasons to see a doctor.
Chronic back pain can come about from years of lifting heavy things, carrying heavy gear, and twisting and jumping. It can also arise as a result of an acute injury sustained in the line of duty. Arthritis and inflammation are common causes of back pain, as are disc disorders and a past spinal injury.
As dozens of veterans who walk through our doors tell us, back pain is much more than a nuisance. For many veterans, daily severe pain affects their ability to work, their ability to parent, and the health of their marriages and other important relationships. It makes fun activities such as taking a walk, playing rec softball, and fishing difficult and painful. When left untreated, chronic back pain can cause loss of sleep, depression, and anxiety. Some veterans with chronic pain self-medicate with alcohol or pain pills. Far too many choose to end their pain by ending their lives.
Common Back Pain Treatments
When veterans seek treatment for back pain, the first place most go is the VA. The VA offers conventional medical pain treatments and sometimes refers veterans for chiropractic care, acupuncture, and other integrative medicine solutions. For severe pain, the most common treatments involve powerful pain medications, including opioids and other narcotics, and surgery.
While these treatments often resolve pain issues, many veterans continue to experience pain after their surgery and despite powerful drugs, especially those with nerve pain from a spinal cord injury. Other veterans turn down conventional treatments to avoid the use and potential future abuse of opioids and other pain pills.
For these vets, conventional medicine offers few options. These are the vets Pain Free Patriots hopes to find, fund, and fix. Our patriot grants help veterans access state-of-the-art treatments for their chronic pain that do not involve pain medications or surgery. For many vets, it’s been the difference between a life of sleepless nights and days in bed and a return to their normal lives with their families.
If you or a loved one suffer from chronic pain or if you’d like to make the difference in the life of a veteran experiencing chronic back pain, contact Pain Free Patriots today or get involved with one of our donation campaigns.