Military veterans served their country with pride, and more often than not, they tell their stories to anyone who wants to listen. Many of these stories are heartbreaking tales of bravery and camaraderie, but they carry real pain wherever they go.
Scars that run deep into their soul and across their bodies are widespread among veterans. Some struggle to deal with these both physically and psychologically. Chronic pain is a complex condition to treat, and many specialists and doctors address the different facets of this pain to bring them relief.
Treatment options for chronic pain may vary, depending on the attending physician and the unique symptoms of each patient; below are some of them:
- Physical Therapies
Doctors diagnose chronic pain when a person continuously feels pain in a specific area like a scar or widespread arthritis for three months or more. Being in so much physical pain is why people search for physical treatments like physiotherapy or massage therapy.
Physiotherapists use various rehabilitative techniques. One of them is massage therapy, a form of relaxation therapy that assists the body in resetting its senses and possibly alleviating some of the discomforts of chronic pain. Physiotherapists could assist the military veteran in relieving the pain or regaining the function of the affected area. For more information on how they can help, continue reading this.
- Acupuncture Sessions
This technique involves sticking fine needles into the skin at specific points on the body in line with the energy centers. It is an ancient form of Chinese medicine that many still practice today. It may not be one of the first methods that come to mind when thinking of managing a painful condition, but it sure is an excellent option to try.
There are several studies where veterans have noted that a trained therapist using acupuncture on them could reduce some of the pain they are experiencing. Veterans may have to wrap their heads around this unusual way of pain treatment, but many choose to return for more sessions as soon as the relief is there.
Military veterans can ask around their area for referrals to an acupuncturist for the best possible results.
- Medicinal Treatments
Although pain medications could work well for chronic pain, doctors closely monitor their use. With a high probability of dependence, strong painkillers are not something to be used for the long-term treatment of pain conditions.
Natural alternatives like turmeric, for example, are used instead of chemical treatments. Studies have found that it has a pain-reducing power due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It can work well when combined with other forms of treatment.
- Electrical Impulse Therapy
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is a therapists’ treatment method by which they apply low-level electrical shocks to a specific area with a TENS device. Military veterans can even apply this form of therapy at home by buying a device suited for personal use.
It is helpful since you can use the device the moment the pain affects daily function. Preventative sessions can stop the pain from becoming unbearable, and the convenience of doing it in their own home is a huge plus point for veterans.
When following the manufacturer’s instructions, the device is safe to use and gives the military veteran the relief they need without going to a therapist or doctor’s office.
- Nerve Block Injections
Pain that affects movement and function can quickly frustrate the military veteran used to living an active lifestyle. Many become so desperate to feel a sense of normalcy, not knowing that there are medical options like nerve block injections.
Doctors can inject the treatment directly to the site where the pain is causing the most discomfort. The drug used is less habit-forming and relieves pain almost immediately with more prolonged-lasting effects than other medications. The only downside to this treatment would be the need to get it administered at the medical center when you are already in pain.
- Emotional Support
Mental health issues like PTSD and anxiety often plague military veterans. Conditions like depression, substance abuse, and other emotional complications could be witnessed more in veterans with chronic pain.
Receiving emotional support from family, friends, and the community is essential to prevent mental health decline in persons with pain conditions. Veterans can seek professional help from a psychologist or psychiatrist to ward off emotional issues further.
Group therapy could also be a tremendous help for veterans. Conversing with others facing the same challenges may provide peace of mind that veterans are not going through their trials alone. The other members in the group could understand the condition that friends and family may not have.
- Lifestyle Changes
Chronic pain can become more manageable for military veterans who change a few aspects of their daily routine or lifestyle. They can consider adding more nutrient-rich, fresh foods to their diet instead of processed versions like takeaways, stop smoking, do some daily exercise, and see a medical professional regularly for checkups.
Changing habits is never easy, but with the help and support of loving family and friends, the veteran can get a higher chance of success. As a veteran, you may ask a friend to go jogging each morning, visit friends or phone them when you need assistance, let your family know when you need help, and never lose hope for things to get better.
There are many positive things to focus our attention on rather than the pain and frustration. Changing our mindset is part of bettering our lifestyle, and one focused on solutions would always be the best one to have.
Although chronic pain is sometimes lifelong and debilitating, there are many ways to manage the symptoms to make it more bearable. Not all the therapies and techniques will work for everyone, and it may be best to combine a few of them for maximum results.
As a family member or friend of a veteran, instead of saying thank you for their service, which only serves as a reminder of why the pain is there in the first place, we should appreciate them for who they are now and support them through their condition.