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Proceedings Paper

Chronic pain management in the active-duty military
Author(s): David Jamison; Steven P. Cohen
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Paper Abstract

As in the general population, chronic pain is a prevalent and burdensome affliction in active-duty military personnel. Painful conditions in military members can be categorized broadly in terms of whether they arise directly from combat injuries (gunshot, fragmentation wound, blast impact) or whether they result from non-combat injuries (sprains, herniated discs, motor vehicle accidents). Both combat-related and non-combat-related causes of pain can further be classified as either acute or chronic. Here we discuss the state of pain management as it relates to the military population in both deployed and non-deployed settings. The term non-battle injury (NBI) is commonly used to refer to those conditions not directly associated with the combat actions of war. In the history of warfare, NBI have far outstripped battle-related injuries in terms not only of morbidity, but also mortality. It was not until improvements in health care and field medicine were applied in World War I that battle-related deaths finally outnumbered those attributed to disease and pestilence. However, NBI have been the leading cause of morbidity and hospital admission in every major conflict since the Korean War. Pain remains a leading cause of presentation to military medical facilities, both in and out of theater. The absence of pain services is associated with a low return-to-duty rate among the deployed population. The most common pain complaints involve the low-back and neck, and studies have suggested that earlier treatment is associated with more significant improvement and a higher return to duty rate. It is recognized that military medicine is often at the forefront of medical innovation, and that many fields of medicine have reaped benefit from the conduct of war.

Paper Details

Date Published: 4 May 2012
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 8371, Sensing Technologies for Global Health, Military Medicine, Disaster Response, and Environmental Monitoring II; and Biometric Technology for Human Identification IX, 83710T (4 May 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.929699
Show Author Affiliations
David Jamison, Walter Reed National Military Medical Ctr. (United States)
Steven P. Cohen, The Johns Hopkins Hospital (United States)
Walter Reed National Military Medical Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8371:
Sensing Technologies for Global Health, Military Medicine, Disaster Response, and Environmental Monitoring II; and Biometric Technology for Human Identification IX
Sárka O. Southern; B. V. K. Vijaya Kumar; Salil Prabhakar; Arend H. J. Kolk; Kevin N. Montgomery; Arun A. Ross; Carl W. Taylor, Editor(s)

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