13 Research Projects to Study Military Healthcare and Pain Management

As the Institute of Medicine reported in 2011, almost 100 million Americans are in chronic pain. This year, JAMA stated that 44% of the military (after combat deployment) are in chronic pain—almost double that of the general public. In a combined effort, the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Services Research and Development Division will provide almost $22 million over the next 5 years for the purpose of exploring and enhancing pain management options and health care for current military personnel, veterans, and family members.

The JAMA report noted that opioid use among postdeployed military personnel is 15%, compared with 4% of the general public. Among the 13 research projects will be cognitive behavioral therapy, morning bright light treatment, meditation, and the study of other nondrug treatment options. The purpose of these upcoming projects is not only to help military personnel and their families, but also to combat the estimated trillions of dollars predicted for care and disability of our veterans and those currently serving.

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