Institute of Research Study Aims to Change Doctors’ Approach to Pain

Walter Reed Army Institute of Research study results show that soldiers have chronic pain at rates twice that of the general population, and that they are 3 times more likely to use narcotic painkillers than civilians. Doctors frequently resort to established methods of treatment—opioids. Colonel Trip Buckenmaier, Program Director of the Defense & Veterans Center for Integrative Pain Management, is determined to update these methods by which chronic pain is managed. Acupuncture and ketamine are two of the treatments being used as alternatives to narcotics.

Colonel Buckenmaier also calls for implementation of new pain rating scales and charts that help better describe pain in order to medicate, but not overmedicate, soldiers in chronic pain. The Colonel also hopes to adopt more of the over 100 recommendations on pain control outlined in a 2010 task force report.

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