Veterans PTSD & Chronic Pain:

Every year veterans return home, many suffering from trauma, there’s a need to help transition them back into civilian life. One of the biggest obstacles to this process is the coping process. Unfortunately, more than 44 percent of U.S. military suffer from chronic pain after combat deployment, according to a report by JAMA Internal Medicine.

If that isn’t enough, more than 15 percent of those individuals also use opioids as a way to cope with the effects. The statistics are alarming, but initiatives are underway to help decrease dependency when our veterans return home. If you know a veteran or are one yourself and suffer from chronic pain, here are some helpful tips and resources to help you in your transition process:

If You’re Experiencing Pain

First, it is important to seek out medical attention for Veterans PTSD or chronic pain from your physician or a pain specialist. Start keeping a “pain diary” so you can easily see when the pain starts and stops, helping to provide better treatment options. Talk to friends and family about the pain you’re experiencing – it can be beneficial mentally to describe to others how you feel.

Consider the Alternatives

While opioid use may seem like the only answer, studies have shown there are healthier, more positive alternatives. For years, pets have been used to help children and adults who suffer from a series of medical conditions. But more recently, there has been an increased use of pets being used to aid veterans who may suffer from anxiety and other ailments. According to a Washington Post story from earlier this year, a Baltimore Veteran, who had suffered from fractured disks and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) saw a significant drop in anxiety attacks once he began pet therapy.

For others, meditation techniques proved to be helpful in managing chronic pain and stress. In a study by Washington D.C’s Veteran Affairs Medical Center from earlier this year, veterans who sought meditation as a means of coping were able to accept and respond to pain in a more positive manner. Additionally, the study found the veterans who participated in meditation saw a 20 percent decrease in pain.

While one of the most commonly used tools for chronic pain and other ailments is opioids, it doesn’t have to be. With opioid abuse at an all-time high, it’s important for all patients, including veterans, know their options. For more on opioids or additional pain treatment alternatives, visit or call (623) 776-8686 today.

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