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New Studies Address Pain and Related Problems in Military Personnel

September 25, 2014
Kristen Huntley, Ph.D.
Kristen Huntley, Ph.D.

Program Director
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

A year ago, I blogged about the release of three funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) seeking nondrug approaches to pain and related conditions in U.S. military service members and veterans. Thirteen new grants are now funded as a result of these FOAs.

For this initiative, NCCAM worked with our NIH sister institute, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and collaborated for the first time with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Health Services Research and Development Service. This collaborative approach offers many advantages, such as pooling strengths, identifying shared interests, learning from others’ ongoing studies, and avoiding duplication of effort.

While the primary focus of the FOAs was the management of pain, which disproportionately affects active military personnel and veterans, we also encouraged research on interventions targeting pain and comorbid conditions and symptoms. Patients, providers, and health care systems urgently need additional strategies not only for pain, but for the problems that often accompany it such as post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances. The tremendous physical and psychological needs contribute to overmedication and opioid misuse.

Some of these grants will investigate self-management approaches and innovative methods for delivering interventions. Some will leverage new technologies, such as mobile neurofeedback devices that can display real-time brain activity, or a mobile app or Web platform for learning mindfulness meditation. The research will document whether such approaches are feasible, acceptable, and user-friendly to patients, and whether they are helpful for those who may be unable to commit to an intensive course of treatment or extra travel. Improving the reach and availability of interventions and self-management approaches, while taking into account patient needs and preferences, will help optimize health care as well as self-management of pain and associated problems.

The FOAs also encouraged research on integrative approaches and models of care that would address symptoms, emphasize coordinated care, and include multiple modalities. Some projects will increase knowledge through secondary data analysis and/or mining medical record data. This will tell us more about pain incidence and prevalence, utilization of different types of care (including complementary or integrative health approaches), associated outcomes, and pain-care quality.

We are proud to support these important projects to provide research evidence with the goal of improving quality of life and options for safe, effective pain management—not only for military personnel and veterans, but the millions of other Americans who struggle with pain every day.

Infographic on fighting pain in the U.S. military. Follow link below for full text description.

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Comments are now closed for this post.

Hello Program Director Dr. Huntley,With 100% confidence, I claim, the Lumbar Fascia based Biomechanics to abolish low back pain symptoms is a new disruptive Mind/Body CAM called #SelfDecompress.US Military deserve to be Low Back Pain & pill free, today, not tomorrow!My medical reports, MRI & CT scans show I have saved my lower Spine & saved my Life from pain pill death. Uncovered 2008-2013, I have been trying to communicate the fascia bio-science & bio-mechanics to various healthcare facilities, researchers, NCCAM & others. To my amazement, I have not found the group of integrity to partner with.Because, Government redtape has been recognized, to slow down commercialization of new products & services. A #Path2Cures Iniative was created. How long will this take?I’m not expecting you/anyone to reply to my request for immediate communication towards  preliminary research anymore. I’m seeking help outside the USA.I’m letting you know the Battle Vs CLBP has been won by #Selfdecompress bio-mechanics. We will end the War on Spine World Ego’s/standards/ignorance with or w/out NIH/NCCAM.#Selfdecompress will reduce the #1 disability around the World.If you knew, what I know now. You would contact President Obama with urgent message to start clinical trial(s) process at NIH center.I admit, filling out NCCAM application forms is not what we do best & has been a losing battle to communicate our bio-mechanics. We save lives,…NCCAM should make the forms easier to decipher.Our Bio-mechanics skill & results, are not a theory! Good luck with your efforts.integrity towards progress,daniel aka Extreme Handless

Pain can be objective and subjective, our brain processe the experience of pain in different ways, some individuals can experience much less dicomfort than others under the same conditions when exposed to them. I am a hypnotherapist and I have been able to alter the perseption of pain using hypnosis. I would love to participate in this research studies that will address pain and related conditions with nondrugs approaches. Jacob Bimblich BCH,CI, FASH. 

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